Disney+ has revealed its first slate of U.K. scripted shows as it continues its significant push for European productions, and has teamed with award-winning writers such as Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Gentleman Jack) and producers behind shows including Killing Eve.
The three new projects announced Thursday — one Disney-branded and one for its new Star label — include The Ballad of Renegade Nell, an adventure series set in the 18th century, written by the multi-BAFTA Award-winning writer Wainwright. The series follows “swashbuckling highwaywoman” Nell Jackson, who is forced into a life of robbery when she’s framed for murder, and is being exec produced by Wainwright, Faith Penhale and Will Johnston from the BBC Studios-backed Lookout Point (Gentleman Jack, A Suitable Boy).
“Nell’s a ball of irreverent, blustering energy, fighting against the privileged gatekeepers of English society in 1705, battling to contain mysterious forces within her and her enemies as she goes on the run with her two sisters,” said Wainwright.
Elsewhere, Star Original commission Culprits is a darkly comic thriller series from acclaimed filmmaker J Blakeson (I Care a Lot, The Disappearance of Alice Creed), following what happens after a heist, when the crew have gone their separate ways and are being targeted by a killer one-by-one. A Character 7 production, it’s being executive produced by Stephen Garrett (The Undoing, The Night Manager) and produced by Morenike Williams (Killing Eve).
Extraordinary is a Star Original comedy created by new talent Emma Moran following Jen, a young, self-aware woman who lives in a world where everyone has a superpower, except her. The series — which Moran describes as being “somewhere between a sitcom and an existential crisis” is back by BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning production company Sid Gentle Films, and is executive produced by Sally Woodward Gentle, Lee Morris (Killing Eve) and Charles Dawson.
“These three outstanding titles represent exactly where we want to be with our commissioning strategy for Disney and Star — projects of scale, originality and with top talent attached,” said vp original content for Disney+, Liam Keelan. “This is just the beginning of a concerted push to bring the best ideas and storytellers to the service, appealing to audiences both here in the U.K. and across the globe.”
Earlier this week, Disney+ confirmed that it was working with David Beckham on the unscripted soccer series Save Our Squad, in which the former Manchester United star will return to the east London pitches where he played as a child and he will mentor a young grassroots team who are struggling to survive in the league.
The U.K. scripted announcement comes just over a year after Disney+ officially launched in Europe and two months after Disney+ unveiled its first slate of originals from the continent, 10 shows from across France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. At the Disney investor day in December it said was targeting 50 productions being commissioned in Europe by 2024. With today’s additional titles, it already has 14.