Entertainment

MipDrama 2021: Profiles of the 11 Series

The 6th edition of MipDrama, launching Friday as part of virtual conference and market event MipTV, showcases new series – most in post-production, a few wrapped – from some of the biggest and most exciting drama series players in the world. Few events will command more attention from buyers. The following are brief profiles of what they’ll be watching:

“Agatha Christie’s Hjerson”

Concept Creator: Patrik Gyllström

Prod Cos: BR•F (Sweden), TV4/CMore(Sweden), Nadcon (Germany), ZDF, Government of Aland, Agatha Christie Ltd.

Distribution Co: ZDFE

Main Broadcasters: TV4/CMore, ZDF

Move over Poirot. The latest Christie sleuth will be a dapper Finnish gourmet who, living in a modern-day Stockholm and hardly concealing his bisexuality, ushers the author and the whodunnit into the 21st century. A light and playful reimagining of a figure who only receives glancing references in Christie’s oeuvre, the series packs a powerful producer punch: Sweden’s BR•F (“Midsommar”) and TV4/CMore (“Agent Hamilton”), and Germany’s Nadcon (“Springfloden”) and ZDF.

“Agatha Christie’s Hjerson”
Credit: Johan Paulin

“Anne Boleyn”

Scr: Eve Hedderwick Turner

Production Co: Fable Pictures

Distribution Co: Sony Pictures Television

Main Broadcaster: Channel 5

The highest-profile proposition at MipDrama, a Sony Pictures Television banner U.K. production turning on the most famous victim, Anne Boleyn, of one of the notorious patriarchs in English history: Serial wife beheader Henry VIII.

Made for ViacomCBS’s Channel 5, “Anne Boleyn” hit the headlines in 2020 with Jodie Turner-Smith becoming the first Black actor to play Boleyn on a mainstream broadcaster. The three-part series recounts the Queen’s last months and crux events that sealed the fate of Henry VIII’s second wife, executed on a trumped-up charge of high treason in 1536 after failing to produce a male heir. It looks set to break new ground in both its narrative cast as a psychological thriller and storytelling from Boleyn’s point of view.

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“Anne Boleyn”
Parisa Taghizadeh

“The Beast Must Die”

Dir: Dome Karukoski

Scr: Gaby Chiappe

Prod Co: New Regency Television, Scott Free

Distrib Co: New Regency Television International

Main Broadcaster: BritBox, AMC

A six-hour crime thriller marking the first scripted original drama from BritBox, the five-part revenge thriller is produced by New Regency Television and Ridley Scott’s Scott Free and was picked up for the U.S. by AMC Networks. Telling the story of a grieving mother who tries to enter the life of the man whom she believes killed her son, the series “cuts to the heart of grief, hate, revenge and allows us to ask questions about our own humanity,” said AMC Networks’ Dan McDermott, president of original programming, when acquiring the series. Its topnotch cast includes Jared Harris (“Chernobyl,” “The Crown”) and Cush Jumbo (“The Good Wife”). Karukoski (““Tom of Finland”) directs from a screenplay by Chiappe (“Their Finest,” “Shetland,” “Vera”).

“Container”

Production Co: Start, Yellow, Black and White

Distribution Company: Yellow, Black and White

Main Broadcaster: Start

Billed as bold, unflinching, gripping drama highlighting the challenges and choices of contemporary surrogacy, “Container” sees a wealthy couple invite a professional surrogate, Sasha, to their villa to ensure a smooth pregnancy. But Sasha has a secret agenda. The thriller is backed by Russia’s Yellow, Black and White Group, behind 2020 international breakout “Russian Affairs,” an Amazon and Walter Presents pick up, and YB&W’s premium streaming platform, Start.

“Don’t Leave Me”

Dir: Ciro Visco

Prod Co: Paypermoon Italia, RAI Fiction, Federation Ent.

Distrib Co: Federation Ent.

Main Broadcaster: RAI

Currently shooting in Venice, an Italian missing children thriller created by Leonardo Fasoli, a creator of “Gomorrah” and “ZeroZeroZero,” and Maddalena Ravagli, a writer on both series. It turns on Elena Zonin, a deputy commissioner investigating a Deep Web pedophile network in a Venice which, says Virsi, “is not for tourists.”

“Furia”

Dir: Magnus Martens, Lars Kraume

Prod Co: Monster, X Filme Production

Distrib Co: Keshet Intl.

Main Broadcasters: Viaplay, ZDF

How do you top “Babylon Berlin”? For Germany’s X Filme, by co-producing “Furia,” from Norway’s Monster Scripted, one of the biggest commercial plays at MipDrama, but a very different proposition, billed by sales agent Keshet Intl. as an edge-of-your-seat mix of undercover thriller and prescient political drama set in contemporary Norway. Ine Marie Wilmann (“Sonja: The White Swan”) plays Ragna, an undercover operative who has penetrated a far-right terror cell in Norway which plans the largest atrocity ever committed in modern times in Europe. Created and written by Stenberg Eriksen (“Mammon”), this looks like both a critique of how Europe deals with terror and a race-against the clock thriller by a woman hiding her own inner rage.

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“Furia”
Courtesy of Keshet International

“Lucky Day” 

Dir: Chris Niemeyer

Scr: David Elkaïm, Vincent Poymiro and Anne Feinsilber,

Prod Co: IDIP Films, Perpetual Soup

Distrib Co: About Premium Content

Main Broadcaster: RTS

A family-targeting Swiss eight-hour ringing multiple changes on comedy – situation, parody, knockabout – as a family on the breadline wins a Swiss national lottery jackpot. Breezy, but ultimately a portrait of a nation’s seeming all-consuming obsession with money. Niemeyer (“Der Bestatter”) directs for RTS, the French-language Swiss public broadcaster.

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“Lucky Day”
Courtesy of About Premium Content

“Pandore” 

Prod Co: Artémis Productions, RTBF

Distrib Co: About Premium Content

Main Broadcaster: RTBF

An early original from French SVOD service Salto and the latest from Belgian public broadcaster RTBF, a political thriller turning on a judge trying to make rape charges stick on a politician (Yoann Blanc, “The Break”) who is bidding to head up one of the most powerful political parties in Belgium.

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“Pandore”
Courtesy of About Premium Content

“Supernormal”

Dir: Emilio Martinez Lázaro

Scr: Marta Sánchez, Olatz Arroyo,

Prod: Movistar Plus, with Secuoya Studios

Distrib Co: Beta Film

Main Broadcasters: Movistar Plus

In this dramedy Movistar Plus original, Spain’s Miren Ibarguren (“Aida”) stars as Patricia, a successful and insufferable overachiever who has it all: the top post at the Spanish branch of a U.K. investment bank, a family of three, a luxury house in a leafy suburb. Whether even this workaholic can juggle work and private life or is really happy is another question. “Women often think they have to be the best at everything – work, as mothers and wives –  and that’s the pathway to failure. ‘Supernormal’s’ a hymn to the right to fail,” said co-screenwriter Arroyo.

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“Supernormal”
Credit: Movistar +

“Whitstable Pearl”

Dir: David Caffrey

Lead writer: Øystein Karlsen

Prod Co: Buccaneer Media

Distrib Co: Cineflix Rights

Main Broadcasters: Acorn TVX

Produced by Buccaneer Media, behind ITV/Netflix hit “Marcella,” “Whitstable Pearl” marks the latest fruit of AMC Networks streamer Acorn TV’s drive into originals.  Based on Julie Wassmer’s “The Whitstable Pearl Mystery” novels, adapted by Norway’s Øystein Karlsen (“Lilyhammer,” “Exit”), the six-part series stars Kerry Godliman, who headlined Ricky Gervais Netflix comedy “After Life,” as the self-confident but sharp local restaurant owner Pearl Nolan, who investigates murder mysteries in a fast-paced, incident-packed and comedy-laced procedural. Whitstable, an English seaside town, adds a quaint background.

“The Winemaker”

Dir: Andreas Prochaska

Scr: Ben Braeunlich, Prochaska,

Prod: Moritz von der Groeben

Prod Co: Good Friends Filmproduktion (Germany), with Satel Film (Austria)

Distrib Co: Beta Film

Main Broadcasters: ZDF, Servus TV

After “The Typist” and “Shadowplay,” another series from German public TV ZDF with a darker edge. Top Austrian actor Tobias Moretti (“The Dark Valley”) plays a soigné vintner Matteo who has it all. Until, that is, Nino, like Matteo a former Mafia enforcer, reappears from Matteo’s past. Threatening to kill his family, Nino drags Matteo into a counterfeit wine scheme and ghastly moral dilemmas. “The Winemaker” is set in the South Tyrol’s picturesque vineyards. The dominant image, however, is Matteo driving alone at night, sunk in a pitch-black nightmare.

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“The Winemaker”
Credit: Martin Rattini




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