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STANDUP

Indian comedian, actor, and musician Vir Das’ hour-long standup special “Landing” will bow worldwide on Netflix on Dec. 26. The backdrop is the aftermath of a seven-minute monologue, a satire about the duality of India, he recited after a standup show at The Kennedy Center in Washington DC in 2021 that went viral internationally. After the show, Das boarded a plane back to his home in Mumbai and by the time he disembarked, his entire world had changed, with the monologue attracting reactions across the spectrum.

“Landing” is Das’ fourth special with the streamer, with his most recent one, “Vir Das: For India,” receiving a 2021 International Emmy nomination for Best Comedy. He is currently developing his own single-camera comedy with Fox, CBS Studios and Andy Samberg’s production company Party Over Here. He also starred in the ABC spy drama-comedy “Whiskey Cavalier.” “Landing” is produced by Rotten Science and executive producers Reg Tigerman and Matthew Vaughan.

COST OF LIVING

A recent survey by the U.K.’s Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact) has revealed that the costs of production have gone up by 10 to 20%.

Pact members were asked about increasing costs over the year, impact on margins and whether broadcasters and streamers had been understanding of the situation. 86% of respondents affirmed that increased costs have impacted their margins. Over 40% of members said that their labor and service costs had increased by at least 10%.

42% of the responses also mentioned that broadcasters and streamers had not been understanding, nor had they tried to help with costs.

Pact CEO John McVay said: “We will use this survey going forward to aid our discussions with Government and broadcasters.”

The findings come amidst news that Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (Bectu) members have finally reached an agreement with Pact regarding working conditions on U.K. TV dramas. The agreement is expected to further raise production costs, with terms including an increase in overtime caps and higher pay on bank holidays. — Hannah Abraham

TRAILER

Disney+ has dropped the first trailer for its superhero-with-a-twist U.K. original “Extraordinary.”

In a world where everyone gets a superpower on their 18th birthday, Jen (played by Máiréad Tyers ) is a freak. Aged 25 she still doesn’t have even a hint of a superpower and is stuck in a dead-end job and flatshare while she tries to figure out her life. It doesn’t help that even her adopted cat Jizzlord has more powers than she does.

“Extraordinary” was produced by Charlie Palmer and executive produced by Disney+ VP for scripted content, Johanna Devereaux.

The eight-episode series, from “Killing Eve” producers Sid Gentle, drops Jan. 25

SERIES

Richard Johns’ Argo Films has set six-hour limited series “Biafra” as its first major television drama. The project is currently in development with the BBC, with Fremantle attached as strategic partner, and actor David Oyelowo (“Selma”) and his Yoruba Saxon Productions executive producing.

Set in the U.K. and Nigeria, the story will unfold across two main timelines – the present day, and the 1967-70 Biafra War. The series, seen through the eyes of a young Black British woman, is billed as a character-led personal story, and a historical, political drama, with themes of family, identity and belonging at its heart. 

Bola Agbaje (“Gone Too Far”) is writing the script, and Ngozi Onwurah (“Shoot the Messenger”) is co-developing and attached to direct. Additional executive producers, alongside Johns and Oyelowo, include Turnover Films’ Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo (“Rye Lane”) and Fremantle’s Christian Vesper (“Top of the Lake”).

SALES

U.K.-based distributor Abacus Media Rights has sold some 400 hours of content to broadcasters and platforms throughout Australia and New Zealand.

SBS Australia has acquired documentary series “The Rise and Fall of Boris Becker,” “This Is Joan Collins,” “Ross Kemp: Shipwreck Treasure Hunters,” “Philip: Prince, Husband, Father,” “Could Hitler Have Been Stopped? The Politics of Appeasement,” “Vikings: The Rise and Fall,” “New Zealand From A Train,” “Mariupol: The People’s Story,” “Peter O’Toole: Along the Sky Road to Aqaba,” “Jeremy Pang’s Asian Kitchen,” “Adrian Dunbar’s: My Ireland” season 2, “Royal Autopsy,” “Costco: Is It Really Worth It?,” “30 Greatest Moments: Adele” and “Queens That Changed the World.”

Foxtel has broadcast rights for Australia and New Zealand for three seasons of “Grand Tours of Scotland,” “Kokoda – The Spirit Lives,” “Waterloo’s Warriors,” “After Braveheart,” four seasons of “Grand Tours of the Scottish Isles,” “Antarctica: A Year on Ice,” “Science and the Ultimate Question,” “The Man Who Destroyed Oscar Wilde,” “Nicholas and Alexandra: The Letters,” “Frank Lloyd Wright: The Man Who Built America” and “WWII: The Price of Empire.”

Madman Entertainment has acquired “The Man Putin Couldn’t Kill,” “The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft,” “I, Hostage,” “Rich and Acquitted,” “The Beatles: Made on Merseyside,” “USS Indianapolis: The Legacy,” “Battle Honours,” “Inside the Mind,” “Margaret Atwood: A Word After a Word is Power,” “Above the Best” and “Back in Time” for Australia and New Zealand. Warner Bros Discovery New Zealand has acquired “Maxine” and TVNZ will air “Married to a Psychopath, “30 Greatest Moments: Adele” and five seasons of “Line of Duty.” Acorn TV has acquired “Deadline.”

There are further sales to Rialto TV, Sky New Zealand, Paramount Australia, ABC Australia, BBC Studios Australia, Nine Network Australia and Stan.

DEGREE

The U.K.’s National Film and Television School has been granted full degree awarding powers by the Office of Students. It will take effect from Jan. 1 2023, giving the school independence to award degrees in its own name for the first time. For the past two decades, the Master of Arts degree gained by students on completion of their course was awarded by the Royal College of Art.