Hit Belgian Series 'Team Chocolate' to Get British Adaptation

Team Chocolate
Wild Bunch TV

Canadian/British producers Reel One and U.K. theater troupe Chickenshed will adapt the series, about a young man with Down syndrome who travels across Europe to reunite with the love of his life.

Canadian/British Group Reel One Entertainment are teaming with U.K. theater company Chickenshed to adapt the award-winning Belgium TV series Team Chocolate for British TV.

The Belgian show, which launched to ratings success and critical acclaim on Belgium public broadcaster VRT last year, follows Jasper Vloemans (Jelle Palmaerts), a young man with Down syndrome who starts his first job in a family-run chocolate factory. He soon falls in love with one of his colleagues, Tina, a girl from Kosovo. When Tina is suddenly deported to her home country, Jasper and his friends set out on a road trip across Europe to find her.

The feel-good Flemish-language dramedy picked up the best drama series award at the first Diversity TV Excellence Awards at international television market Mipcom in October and won the 2017 Prix Europa for best European Fiction Series.

The series was the result of a unique collaboration between Belgian TV production company De Mensen, whose credits include hit crime drama Salamander and upcoming Netflix series Undercover, and Theater Stap, a Flanders-based theater company that works with disabled actors. Actors from the company play many of the lead roles in the show.

Reel One, which picked up series adaptation rights from Wild Bunch TV, plans to re-create that collaboration with Chickenshed, an inclusive theater company based in Southgate, London. Reel One is pitching Team Chocolate to U.K. networks and is in talks to attach a British writer to the project.

Broadcasters in the U.K. are under pressure to increase the representation of physically and mentally disabled people on screen. According to last year's Project Diamond survey of major broadcasters, people with disabilities are one of the most underrepresented groups on TV, making up just 6.5 percent of on-screen and 5.5 percent of behind-the-camera talent while making up 18 percent of the national population of Great Britain.

Reel One, based in Montreal with offices in L.A., London and Vancouver, is expanding into serial production, recently hiring producer Adam Fratto (Cleverman) as new svp TV series and naming former Channel 4 executive Dominic Schreiber its global drama executive. Reel One is currently developing a series of crime procedurals, as well as a sci-fi series based on the Philip K. Dick novella Second Variety.