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There’s been no shortage of British dramas that have made it big over in the U.S.
In 2018, terrorist thriller Bodyguard smashed viewing records on the BBC before Netflix gave American audiences a taste of what Brits had been going wild about. Earlier in the year, miniseries A Very English Scandal earned countless plaudits — plus a major haul of Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations and a SAG nomination for Hugh Grant — after it landed on Amazon following a successful run across the Atlantic.
But what will become major talking points in 2019? Speaking to each of the main Brit networks, THR picks out four dramas commissioned in the U.K. that could make a splash stateside this year.
Chimerica, Channel 4
With political posturing between the U.S. and China looking set to continue into 2019, this four-part drama about the shifting balance of power between East and West is rather perfectly timed. Based on Lucy Kirkwood’s provocative 2013 West End play, the story follows a U.S. photojournalist who, amid cries of fake news, tries to discover the truth behind the iconic, career-making image he took of a lone man defying the tanks that rolled into Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989. Disobedience star Alessandro Nivola leads the cast, which also includes Cherry Jones (Transparent), Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda), F. Murray Abraham (Homeland), Terry Chen (Jessica Jones) and Ty Simpkins (Jurassic World). Colin Callender’s Playground (Little Women, Wolf Hall) is producing the miniseries for Channel 4, with Michael Keillor (Line of Duty) having taken over from William Oldroyd on director duties. All3Media is looking after international distribution.
Fast and Furious meets The Hunger Games? Curfew follows one long, life-changing night in which a group of ordinary people compete in the world’s deadliest street race, driving customized and weaponized cars as they attempt to win their freedom from a totalitarian government. The O.C.’s Adam Brody stars in the eight-part series alongside Sean Bean (Game of Thrones), Adrian Lester (Riviera), Phoebe Fox (Blue Iguana), Malachi Kirby (Roots), Billy Zane (Titanic) and Miranda Richardson (Churchill). Written by Matthew Read (Pusher), Curfew will air on Charter Communications’ Spectrum Originals in the U.S, and is produced by Endemol Shine’s Tiger Aspect alongside upstart U.K. banner Moonage. Colm McCarthy, who helmed critically acclaimed post-apocalyptic zombie indie The Girl With All the Gifts, directs.
The chance to catch Richard Gere in his first TV role in 30 years could be too much for many to pass up. Created by Tom Rob Smith (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story), MotherFatherSon is an eight-part political and psychological thriller in which Gere plays a self-made U.S. businessman who owns media outlets in London and around the world. His 30-year-old son (On Chesil Beach’s Billy Howle) looks set to take the reins and become one of the most powerful men on the planet, but when his self-destructive lifestyle spirals out of the control, the future of not only the family, but the business empire and a country on the brink of change is put in danger. Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders), Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley), Sinead Cusack (Call the Midwife), Paul Ready (The Terror), Pippa Bennett-Warner (Harlots), Danny Sapani (Black Panther) and Joseph Mawle (Game Of Thrones) also star, with BBC Studios producing and distributing internationally.
Rob Lowe is heading to small-town England to ruffle feathers for a six-part crime drama. In Wild Bill, the star plays a high-flying U.S. police chief who lands in the U.K. port town of Boston with his 14-year-old daughter in an attempt to flee their recent past. But despite a first-class degree in criminology, a masters in psychopathology and doctorate in statistical mapping, he finds his new community rather difficult to impress. Wild Bill is a collaboration from 42 (Ironbark, Watership Down), Anonymous Content (Mr. Robot, Maniac) and ITV Studios label Shiver, with Lowe also exec producing. ITVS GE is distributing internationally.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek