BBC orders Blick, Bartlett, McGovern dramas

UK pubcaster the BBC has turned to a number of high-profile writers for 35 hours of new drama programming.

The Honourable Woman’s Hugo Blick, Doctor Foster creator Mike Bartlett and The Street’s Jimmy McGovern are attached to new projects, alongside the likes of Academy Award nominee Kenneth Lonegran, Playground Entertainment’s Colin Callender, Left Bank Pictures and The Slap’s Kris Mrksa.

Blick has created Black Earth Rising, a thriller set in Africa told through the prism of a black Anglo-American family, for BBC Two. Greg Brenman’s Drama Republic and Blick’s Eight Rooks Productions coproduce.

Barlett, whose series Doctor Foster was a big critical and ratings success for the BBC last year has written Press, a 6x60mins drama set in the world of modern newspapers. BBC Cymru Wales will produce in association with Deep Indigo and Lookout Point, with the series airing on BBC One.

McGovern is attached to another 6x60mins effort, Broken, a “state of the nation piece” following a Liverpuddlian catholic priest struggling with his religion and contemporary Great Britain. McGovern’s LA Productions produces for BBC One.

Elsewhere, Howards End is a 4x60mins drama from Callendar’s Playground (Wolf Hall) and Lonegran (Gangs of New York, You Can Count on Me). Based on an E.M. Forster novel from 1910, the show follows the changing social and class landscapes in turn-of-the-century England through the eyes of three very different families.

Playground produces in association with City Entertainment and KippSterEntertainment for BBC One.

Sony Pictures Television-owned Left Bank, meanwhile, will produce 3x60mins BBC One psychological thriller The Replacement, in which a successful architect begins to suspect her maternity cover replacement has a disturbing agenda.

Requiem comes from Mrska, an Australian writer that counts The Slap and Underbelly as credits. The 6x60mins show is billed as a part psychological thriller and part supernatural drama. All3Media-owned New Pictures is attached to produce for BBC One.

Rounding out the new slate, Origin Pictures and Northern Ireland-based BBC NI Drama will produce Woman in White, a ghost-themed drama whose source material is considered as one of the first detective novels. The show airs on BBC One.

Paula (WT) is a 3x60mins effort from Conor McPherson, also from BBC NI Drama but this time with Cuba Pictures and for BBC Two.

The show is billed as a “revenge drama about a brief encounter that ends in violence.

“I want the BBC to be the best creative home for writers and it’s exciting to bring audiences new shows from Mike Bartlett, Jimmy McGovern, Jo Ahearne and Hugo Blick; plus have Kenneth Lonnergan, Connor McPherson and Kris Mrksa all writing their first dramas for us,” said the BBC’s controller of drama commissioning, Polly Hill (pictured). “They include state of the nation drama about contemporary Britain, to crime series that offer a fresh take on a much loved genre.”