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BBC Worldwide, ITV Studios snag high end Oz dramas

BBC Worldwide and ITV Studios Global Entertainment are among distributors that have snapped up new high end Australian dramas, which yesterday secured multimillion dollar funding.

BBC Worldwide is to distribute The Kettering Incident, which Porchlight Films is making for pay TV service Foxtel, while ITV Studios has snagged rights to Playmaker Media-produced ABC series Hiding.

Elsewhere, the ABC’s commercial arm has acquired rights to The Secret River and children’s drama The New Adventures of Figaro Pho and Cordel Jigsaw Zapruder has taken international sales for miniseries Gina.

The title have all secured multimillion dollar investment from funding body Screen Australia.

The Kettering Incident is from Vincent Sheehan’s Porchlight and Sweet Potato Films. Set entirely in Tasmania, it follows a female doctor who inexplicably finds herself linked to the disappearance of two young girls 15 years apart. Victoria Madden is writing and Penny Win executive produces.

Hiding is for the ABC and tells the story of a Gold Coast criminal who enters witness protection along with his dysfunctional family and gets a job in a university psychology department. ITVSGE has international sales outside of Australasia, where Universal Pictures is handling rights. David Taylor, David Maher and Matt Ford produce, with the latter also writing.

Aussie indie Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder is behind Gina, which looks into the life of billionaire Gina Rinehart and will run on Nine. Incidentally, Rinehart into 2010 took a minority stake in Nine rival Ten. CJZ will sell it on the international market.

Claudia Karvan, Michael Cordell and Paul Bennett are producing, with Bennett and Katherine Thomson writing. Nick Murray, Jo Rooney and Andy Ryan are executive producers.

The Secret River comes from Ruby Entertainment and is produced by Stephen Luby. Set in 1810, it focuses on a land dispute between an English convict and an Aboriginal clan in New South Wales.

ABC Commercial is selling it, along with The New Adventures of Figaro Pho, which is a coproduction between Chocolate Liberation Front and Ambiance Entertainment. Matthew Street and Christopher Mapp executive produce for kids channel ABC3.

“These five outstanding television drama projects announced today will deliver exceptional and iconic Australian stories to local audiences, and Screen Australia is proud to be an investor in them,” said Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason, who was announcing the body’s first funding round since he took its top job.