9:15am PT by Georg Szalai
BritBox Sets 'Bletchley Circle' Spinoff as First Original
BritBox, the streaming service from BBC Worldwide and ITV that provides a collection of British TV content in the U.S., on Thursday unveiled its first original, drama series The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco.
The spinoff of mystery drama The Bletchley Circle will be produced by Omnifilm Entertainment in association with BritBox and World Productions, the producer of the original show. Set to premiere later this year, it is formatted as four stories, each unfolding over two episodes.
The original miniseries, set in 1952, focused on four women who return to normal lives after working at Bletchley Park, the site where the Germans' infamous "enigma cypher" was broken by British mathematicians and code breakers during World War II. One of them, Susan, notices a pattern to the murders of several women, which is in the news. When the police don't listen to her, she enlists the help of former friends and fellow cryptographers to investigate the cases.
The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco picks up in 1956 and follows two of the original lead characters, Millie (Rachel Stirling) and Jean (Julie Graham), as they travel to America and join forces with two U.S. code breakers to tackle a string of new murder cases. "Using their unique skills and intellectual abilities, the four women solve complex mysteries that baffle local law enforcement," according to a show description.
At the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, BritBox also unveiled other programming for the year, including the U.S. debut of the first drama with Rowan Atkinson in the lead role, Maigret, and simulcast live events, such as the celebration of the Queen’s official birthday, Trooping of the Colour, and other royal coverage.
"During our first year, BritBox was able to bring some of the most in-demand British programs ‘on demand’ to U.S. fans, some within hours or near simulcast, letting them see shows they have never been able to watch or have not seen in years," said BritBox president Soumya Sriraman. "In 2018, BritBox will up the ante with our first commission, more co-productions and more popular programming and star power from all genres appealing to new subscribers along with our very loyal existing members."
Other first-half 2018 programming that BritBox highlighted at TCA includes the U.S. debut of Vera, starring Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn as Detective Chief Vera Stanhope who tries to crack some of the toughest cases in Northumberland, England, season two of family comedy Mum, about a mother (Lesley Manville) on the verge of 60 finding her footing following the premature death of her husband, and thriller Trauma from Doctor Foster creator Mike Bartlett, about two fathers whose lives tragically intersect.
BritBox costs $6.99 per month in the U.S., after an introductory free trial period. It is launching soon in Canada.