BBC buys foreign language shows, says it is ‘home of international drama’

Hostages IsraelThe original Israeli drama behind CBS series Hostages is one of a batch of foreign language dramas heading to UK digital channel BBC Four.

The network, which is building up its local rep as ‘the home of international drama’ on British screens’, has acquired Hostages from Armoza Formats and Crimes of Passion and 1864 from Svensk Filmindustri.

Hostages (pictured) broadcasted on Israeli’s Channel 10, though the format was sold and remade in the US for CBS even before it had an Israeli network attached.

The 10x60mins drama, created by Rotem Shamir and Omri Givon and  produced by Haim Sharir, is a crime thriller series in which a renowned surgeon is ordered to sabotage routine surgery on the president when her family is taken hostage in their own home.

The acquisition marks the first time an Israeli drama will broadcast on the UK pubcaster. “We are proud to represent the first ever Israeli series to air on the BBC, and believe that the BBC is the perfect home for this highly acclaimed drama. With its powerful universal storyline, and the success it has achieved in Israel, we look forward to continue bringing Hostages to the international market,” said Armoza CEO Avi Armoza.

In related news, Armoza has today announced a French deal for Hostages with Paris-based producer-distributor Ace Entertainment.

Meanwhile, 1864 is a big budget 8x60mins Danish period drama from FremantleMedia-owned Miso Film in association in with pubcaster DR.

The love triangle storyline follows two brothers that fall in love with the same woman during the German-Danish war. It is said to have a budget of nearly US$30 million.

Crimes of Passion is a 6x90mins mystery drama based on crime novels from author Naria Lang. Set in the ethereal Swedish region of Bergslagen, the episodes follow amateur sleuth Puck Ekstedt and his fiancé as they catch killers, whom are always from the local community. It comes from Pampas Produktion.

Sue Deeks, the BBC’s head of programme acquisition, said: “I am delighted that we are adding to our range of international drama on BBC Four with three superb new series. Hostages is a taut, spare and authentic Israeli thriller; Crimes of Passion is a stylish and engaging 50s-set detective drama; and 1864 is an epic historical Danish series with tremendous sweep and scale.”

Other upcoming foreign scripted series on BBC Four include season two of The Bridge, Belgian conspiracy thriller Salamander, season three of Wallander, Welsh procedural Hinterland and Irish drama Amber. It also currentl broadcasting SVT HIV-themed period drama Don’t Wipe Tears Without Gloves.