BBC And France Televisions Unveil Landmark Co-pro

As production budgets become tighter, broadcasters are increasingly looking to international co-production as a way of sharing financial risk, a point made repeatedly last week at MIPTV, the twice-yearly TV trade market in Cannes. This trend is leading to some unusual alliances, a classic case in point being Death In Paradise, an eight-part series that is being produced by Red Planet Pictures and Atlantique Productions in association with BBC Worldwide and Kudos Film and Television for BBC One and France Télévisions.

Death in Paradise is a fish out of water story about a quintessential English cop posted to the Caribbean island of Sainte Marie. To anyone else it would be paradise, but for Detective Inspector Richard Poole (to be played by Ben Miller) it’;s hell. Unsuited to the Caribbean way of life and unused to the local style of policing, he has to overcome his
culture shock to show what a brilliant detective he really is (working in partnership with an attractive French partner).

It is the first time that France Télévisions has co-produced a drama series with the BBC and the collaboration between the broadcasters and Red Planet Pictures is taking place across all phases; script, production and casting. The filming is set to take place in Guadeloupe, a French overseas département and the post production will take place in London. Sophie Gigon, Head of International Drama Co-productions France Télévisions says: “We are delighted with our principal cast, Sarah Martins and Ben Miller, who form a beautiful French-British couple. Their team in Death in Paradise mirrors our partnership: we are proud to have married them and impatient to see them evolve, episode after episode.”

The deal was brokered by BBCW, whose Executive Producer International Drama, Ben Donald says: “I am very pleased with the calibre of the cast brought together for Death in Paradise and both broadcasters are delighted with the English and French cast choices. Ben Miller and Sara Martins will be real assets in helping sell the show around the world. This is a true collaboration in every sense.”

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