All3Media International has sold both seasons of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Emmy-winning show Fleabag to Japanese pay-TV channel Wowow. Joanne Froggatt and Ioan Gruffudd’s drama Liar has also been picked up by Wowow. BBC One’s Baptiste will also debut in Japan through an agreement with Tohokushinsha Film Corporation. All three shows are made by All3Media indie Two Brothers Pictures. “We strive to tell stories that are universally compelling and resonate with viewers all over the world,” said executive producer Sarah Hammond.
Doctor Who and Call The Midwife have become the first major dramas to offer new writers the chance to break into high-end scripted through a £15,000 $20,000 bursary scheme. The ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund gives aspiring TV writers the chance to work with established writers on a major returning series to pen a speculative script for a single episode. Playwright Zoe Cooper has just delivered a script for Neal Street’s Call The Midwife under the scheme, while a new writer will join the Doctor Who team for season 13.
BBC Studios-owned broadcaster UKTV has picked up German-New Zealand thriller The Gulf for its Alibi channel. The series centers on the moral disintegration of detective Jess Savage, who investigates crimes on Waiheke Island, New Zealand. The Alibi deal was brokered by Chris Stewart, commercial director of scripted at Banijay Rights, and UKTV acquisitions manager Daniel Thomas. The Gulf was acquired by Sundance Now last month. It is a co-production between Screentime New Zealand, Lippy Pictures and Letterbox Filmproduktion.
By its nature, Doctor Who is a show filled with gaps and holes — the series was off the air for 16 years between the time it was canceled in 1989 and revived for a modern audience in 2005 by Russell T. Davies. Even when it’s on the air, our favorite time-traveling alien is having countless off-screen adventures that we’ll never be privy to.
The mystery of Doctor Who has allowed fans to fill those gaps with their own imaginations, or with the hundreds of audio book stories released by Big Finish. But imagination can only take us so far, especially when that’s the only thing we’re stuck with in quarantine. So former showrunner Russell T. Davies and current showrunner Chris Chibnall are stepping in to fill in those gaps with never-before-seen prequels to their respective runs on Doctor Who.
“Rose,” the inaugural episode of the modern Doctor Who revival that launched a whole new era for the sci-fi series, celebrated its 15th anniversary yesterday. In honor of the episode’s 15th anniversary, for which Davies lead a live-watch of “Rose” on Twitter, Davies wrote and published “Doctor Who and the Time War,” a short story covering the Time War and the Eighth Doctor’s Paul McGann regeneration into the Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston, on the BBC website.
“This was never meant to exist,” Davies explained in an introduction of the short story. “Way back, maybe early 2013, Tom Spilsbury, the editor of Doctor Who Magazine, asked me if I wanted to contribute to DWM’s great 50th special. Maybe addressing that huge gap in Doctor Who lore, how did the Eighth Doctor regenerate into the Ninth?”
Davies was hesitant, as that would take the mystery out of the whole thing. But he ended up writing a short story, which would be rendered non-canonical by Steven Moffat‘s 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor,” which introduced John Hurt as the War Doctor. So the story never ended up being published — until now. You can read it here, and giggle over the very appropriate first word that comes out of the Ninth Doctor’s mouth.
Davies’ story comes after Moffat wrote special introduction for Strax the Sontaran ahead of a live-tweet of “The Day of the Doctor” earlier this week, and after current showrunner Chibnall published his own prequel to the first episode of his run, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” on the BBC website. Chibnall’s story is equally brief, and mostly documents the chaotic thought process that Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor went through as she fell to Earth from her exploding TARDIS. You can read the story here.
While these aren’t new episodes, or even short mini-sodes of Doctor Who by the way, I miss those, BBC, it will be...
Quarantined viewers tuned into Saturday’s all-day, virtual ScreenCraft Screenwriting Summit were treated to a special surprise in the evening when filmmaker and TV titan J.J. Abrams crashed the party as the surprise special guest. He arrived just after his fellow “Star Wars” scribe Tony Gilroy “Rogue One” and the upcoming Cassian Andor series finished his conversation about the craft of screenwriting.
Abrams’ Q&A touched on a range of topics, from the origins of 2015’s “The Force Awakens” to scaling “the mountain,” as he called it, of writing a screenplay, and to the Golden Age of television happening now. It’s an era Abrams helped to launch with his ABC mystery series “Lost.” “I know my role in that. I’m not talking as if I had nothing to do with this,” he said.
“It’s the Golden Age of television, as they call it, even though I don’t know what television really is anymore,” Abrams said. “That’s because huge chances are being taken. Talent that might not have gotten the chance otherwise suddenly have the opportunity. For me, when I watch a show like ‘Atlanta,’ which takes the most spectacular risks in point of view, in genre, structure, and character […] every story has been told, it’s kind of all been done before,” remarking that the FX series tells its stories in unique ways.
Abrams also praised the Emmy-winning Prime Video series “Fleabag,” created by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
“You see ‘Fleabag’ and you’re like, well, yes, the fourth wall has been broken [before], but not like that,” he said, referring to the protagonist’s tendency to face the camera and address the audience. “Yes, there have been amazing love stories, and stories of family, but not like that. What I love is the thing that makes you feel like, ‘Oh my god, this is so amazingly specific.'”
Abrams pivoted to discussing Hollywood’s place in a moment dominated by streaming content with originality that far exceeds what’s being reproduced on the big screen. “Hollywood used to be a place where something would happen, there’d be a movie where people would see it and think ‘Oh my god, that’s amazing. Here’s my answer to that,’ or ‘here’s my version,'” he said.
“Hollywood has become a place where, for the most part, studios say, ‘Oh my god, that’s amazing. Let’s do that literally again.’ And that’s OK, and I think that will continue, but I really hope that all the writers who are here and others in the guild are as excited as I am about this new opportunity with streaming platforms. How many different stories are going to be...