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Amazon, BBCWW coproduce fashion drama

Amazon Prime Instant Video and BBC Worldwide have greenlit an eight-part fashion-themed drama from UK indie Lookout Point.

Liam KeelanThe Collection is set in the world of French haute couture just after the Second World War, and will launch exclusively in 2016 for Amazon Prime members in the UK.

This marks the first time Amazon has ordered a UK-created original, and comes as Netflix readies its first British drama, The Crown.

Billed as a family drama, The Collection centres on two brothers to expose the grit behind the world of Parisian high fashion. Lookout Point is the lead producer, with Pascal Breton’s Federation Entertainment signed on as coproducer.

Production begins in January, filming in Wales and France. The Pinewood Wales Investment Budget as well as British studio Pinewood will provide some of the funding.

This marks the first time the BBC’s commercial arm has co-greenlit a new drama with Amazon, though the pair did structure a deal to save the cancelled BBC period drama Ripper Street, another Lookout Point project, in 2014.

It also comes as Lookout Point, in which BBCWW has a 35% stake, moved heavily into original drama production after the recent hire of BBC Wales drama controller faith Penhale as co-CEO.

“This is a pioneering partnership structure between BBC Worldwide, and Amazon Prime combined with investment from Pinewood and the Welsh Government,” said Lookout Point founder and co-CEO Simon Vaughan. “World class partners, but working together in entirely new ways.”

“The project marks another dynamic shift in the way that drama is being created and produced globally” said Liam Keelan, director of scripted, BBCWW (pictured).

The Collection epitomises the kind of exciting creative opportunities and business models now emerging, in particular from our strategic relationship with Lookout Point. But above all, its attraction is an outstanding script with amazing talent attached.”

“We aim to bring our customers the best international TV has to offer, and we’re sure our members will enjoy this window into the seemingly glamourous world of Parisian haute couture, perhaps hiding a more sinister undercurrent,” said Chris Bird, film and TV strategy director, Amazon Video UK.

The Collection comes from showrunner Oliver Goldstick (Ugly Betty, Pretty Little Liars). Anne Thomopoulos (Rome, Versailles) executive produces along with Kate Croft (Murderland), whose company Goldstick originated the project through an exclusive development and production agreement with Lookout Point. Dearbhla Walsh (Penny Dreadful) will direct, with Selwyn Roberts (Parade’s End, Strike Back) series producing.

The Collection has been a passion project of mine for years; an entrepreneurial fable set in a pivotal moment in history, where fashion served as the ultimate vehicle for transformation and re-invention. It’s the story of a war-scarred family – upstairs and downstairs – tethered together by its success and its secrets.”

“Out of our shared passion for the world and the period, Oliver has created his extraordinary vision of Paris and the ‘Golden Age of Couture’,” said Croft. “It’s full of his signature flourishes, and his unique take means we get to peek behind the elegant façade and realise it is not just about the dresses, but more about what they are covering up.”