Sky U.K., Sky Italy Take German Period Series 'Babylon Berlin'

Babylon Berlin
Tom Tykwer

Buyers jump on the upcoming German period drama series from directors Tom Tykwer, Achim von Borries and Henk Handloegten.

Sky U.K., Sky Italia and public broadcasters across Scandinavia are among the first to board Babylon Berlin, the hotly anticipated German series from directors Tom Tykwer, Achim von Borries and Henk Handloegten.

Beta Cinema, which is producing the series alongside Sky Deutschland and public network ARD, screened the first footage of the series to a packed audience at Clarchens Ballhaus in Berlin on Wednesday.

SVT Sweden, NRK Norway, DR Denmark, YLE Finland and RUV in Iceland are among the channels that have pre-bought the period drama, a crime thriller set in Berlin in 1929, on script basis. Spanish pay TV platform MovistarTelefonica and Belgian pay TV group Telenet have also picked up the series. 

Beta Film CEO Jan Mojto said negotiations were "about to be completed shortly" with buyers in the U.S., France and Latin America.

German directors Tykwer, von Borries and Handloegten co-wrote and co-directed Babylon Berlin. Based on a series of novels by German writer Volker Kutscher, the series is described as a Raymond Chandler-style crime story about a German detective send to Berlin to investigate the Berlin mafia — set against the social and political upheaval of Germany in 1929.

With a budget of $45 million, the period drama is the most expensive non-English-language series ever made. Sky Deutschland will premiere Babylon Berlin in Germany on Oct. 13. ARD will air the series on German free-TV in 2018.