British streaming service BritBox has announced an expanded production partnership with Agatha Christie Limited and Mammoth Screen, part of which will include producing three new adaptations on stories from the beloved mystery novelist’s works.
The three new titles will each have a distinctive voice bringing a new perspective and style to the novels by Agatha Christie. Emily Powers, Head of BritBox North America announced the news at a virtual Television Critics Association (TCA) meeting Wednesday.
In addition to the Agatha Christie productions, BritBox has a number of new productions and originals slated for the coming months, including its true crime co-production, The Barking Murders, Sister Boniface Mysteries, The Confessions of Frannie Langton, and more.
“In just a few short years, BritBox has grown to well over 2 million subscribers and counting. We’ve been able to do that by letting our content speak for itself.” said Powers. “We’re not just acquiring hours to boost catalogue, we’ve built out our own commissioning team and are partnering with renowned studios, production companies andmtalent to make award-worthy, premium co-productions and Originals.”
BritBox Commissions and Co-Productions
Sister Boniface Mysteries – From the makers of Father Brown and Shakespeare & Hathaway, comes a light-hearted murder mystery series starring a Vespa driving, crime solving Catholic nun. Lorna Watson (Watson & Oliver) stars as Sister Boniface, along with Max Brown (Downton Abbey), Jerry Iwu (Halal Daddy), Miranda Raison (MI-5), and Ami Metcalf (Allied). It’s the 1960s and police forensics are rudimentary. Luckily the residents of Great Slaughter, nestled deep in the British countryside, have a secret weapon – Sister Boniface. This nun might be predisposed to forgive – but she’s also one hell of an amateur detective. If there’s evidence to be found, Boniface will find it, with a little help from dashing maverick DI Sam Gillespie and buttoned-up Bermudan DS Felix Livingstone. Commissioned by BritBox North America, produced by BBC Studios Drama Productions, created by Jude Tindall, executive produced by Will Trotter and series produced by Peter Bullock and script produced by Neil Irvine. Globally distributed by BBC Studios Distribution. Premiered: February 8
Murder in Provence – Starring Roger Allam (Endeavour, The Thick of It), Nancy Carroll (The Crown, Father Brown) and Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman), and based on the books by M.L. Longworth, Murder in Provence is a three-part Original murder mystery that follows Antoine Verlaque (Allam) and his partner Marine Bonnet (Carroll) as they investigate the murders in their idyllic home town Aix-en-Provence. Their efforts are aided by detective Hélène (Settle), Antoine’s trusted confidante. Commissioned by BritBox North America and BritBox UK, adapted by Shelagh Stephenson, directed by Chloe Thomas, produced by Grainne Marmion, and Executive Produced by Debra Hayward, Alison Owen and Alison Carpenter, along with Stephenson and Allam. Premiere: March 1
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? – Based on her 1934 novel, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? opens with a fine Agatha Christie enigma: a man lies dying at the foot of a cliff, apparently the victim of an accidental fall; with his final breath, he utters the mysterious question of the title and promptly expires. Some people – perhaps most people – might shrug at the impenetrable oddness of the words and move on with their lives. But Bobby Jones, played by Will Poutler (Dopesick) and his childhood friend, Lady Frances “Frankie” Derwent, played by Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody) are not most people. They resolve to honor the dead man by playing ameteur sleuths with the mission of deciphering, and then answering, his final question. In so doing, they hit upon a dark conspiracy of deceit, betrayal and – perhaps unsurprisingly – murder.
Joining Poulter and Boynton on the series are Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones) as Bobby’s friend and mentor, Dr. Thomas, and Daniel Ings (I Hate Suzie) as Roger Bassington-ffrench, target of the duo’s early suspicions. Maeve Dermody (The Secret Garden), plays Moira Nicholson, troubled wife of the domineering Dr. James Nicholson, and Jonathan Jules (Small Axe) appear as Ralph “Knocker” Beadon, one time shipmate of Bobby, and good man in a tight corner. Executive Produced by Emily Powers, Gina Cronk, and Jonathan Karas for BritBox North America, Produced by Claire Jones for Mammoth Screen, alongside Damien Timmer and Helen Ziegler, and James Prichard for Agatha Christie Limited. Premiere: April 12
The Confessions of Frannie Langton – Set against the opulence of Georgian London, The Confessions of Frannie Langton, narrates Frannie’s journey from a Jamaican plantation to the grand Mayfair mansion of celebrated scientist George Benham and his exquisitely beautiful wife, Madame Marguerite Benham. In a misguided and monstrous gesture Frannie is gifted to Benham by the man who owns her, John Langton, and she is employed as a maid in the household much to her chagrin. Events take a fateful turn as the Benhams are found murdered in their beds, with Frannie lying next to Marguerite. Frannie is accused of murder; a murder she has no recollection of, other than she couldn’t possibly have killed her mistress because she was devoted to her. Dragged away to prison, Frannie attempts to piece together the events of that night. She is deep into a laudanum addiction and unable to recall what happened.Will Frannie recall the haunting events of that night? All she knows is she loved Marguerite passionately and cannot believe she would have hurt her. But if not Frannie, who did commit the double murder? Others have motives, but only Frannie is accused and she will hang if found guilty. What hope does she have of clearing her name? Starring Karla Simone-Spence (Blue Story) as Frannie, Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Golden Circle), Stephen Cambell-Moore (Downton Abbey) and, Jodhi May (Small Axe), adapted by Sara Collins from her book of the same title and directed by Andrea Harkin ( The Trial of Christine Keeler) and produced by Carol Harding (My Name Is Leon) for Drama Republic Limited for ITV Network in the UK. Produced by Drama Republic for ITV, UK in association with All3Media International. Co-produced with BritBox for North America, Australia, and South Africa Premiere: To Be Announced
The Barking Murders – From Jeff Pope and Neil McKay, the award-winning team behind The Moorside and Appropriate Adult, the new factual drama will go beneath the headlines to shed new light on this haunting story of a serial killer (also known as the Grindr Killer), by telling it from the point of view of the families and friends of the four victims who were murdered by Stephen Port, played by Stephen Merchant (Extras). The Barking Murders focuses on the fight to uncover the truth about what had happened to their lost sons, brothers and loved ones in the face of a now widely criticized police investigation. Directed by David Blair, produced by Serena Cullen and executive produced by Jeff Pope for ITV Studios, Neil McKay and Lucy Richer for the BBC. The drama was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama and Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Office. It is a co-production with BritBox North America, where it will premiere in the US and Canada, and is distributed internationally by ITV Studios. Premiere: June
Traces S2 – Lab assistant Emma Hedges, played by Molly Windsor (Three Girls) is now training to be a forensic chemist, and on the cusp of seeing her mother’s murder case finally resolved. Daniel, played by Martin Compston (Line of Duty) is to give evidence against his father. Meanwhile, professors Sarah Gordon, played by Laura Fraser (Better Call Saul) and Kathy Torrance, played by Jennifer Spence (Supernatural) are investigating a deadly bombing campaign. Homemade devices are going off around Dundee, with critical clues hidden inside the bombs. Will the team track down the bomber before their identity goes up in smoke? Joining this cast this season is Zoe Tapper (Grantchester) as Cleo Morey. Produced by RED Production Company (It’s A Sin, Years and Years) for UKTV and based on an original idea by best-selling crime writer Val McDermid. Amelia Bullmore returns to write the second series with Jess Williams (Grantchester, Call the Midwife). Nicola Shindler (It’s A Sin, Happy Valley) executive produces alongside RED’s Michaela Fereday (Finding Alice, Scott & Bailey). BBC Studios distributes both series one and two internationally. Premiere: February 22
The Responder – Written by an ex-police officer, The Responder holds a mirror up to the emotional extremes of life on the front line of British policing – sometimes darkly funny, sometimes painfully tragic, always challenging. The Responder follows Chris Carson (Martin Freeman), a crisis-stricken, morally compromised, unconventional urgent response officer tackling a series of night shifts on the beat in Liverpool. Whilst trying to keep his head above water both personally and professionally, Chris is forced to take on a new rookie partner Rachel (Adelayo Adedayo). Both soon discover that survival in this high pressure, relentless, night-time world will depend on them either helping or destroying each other. The Responder is written by Tony Schumacher and produced by Dancing Ledge Productions, part of Fremantle, originally for BBC One. It is directed by Tim Mielants (Peaky Blinders; The Terror; Legion) and produced by Rebecca Ferguson (The Trial of Christine Keeler; Cold Feet; Next of Kin). Multi BAFTA – award winning and Emmy nominated Laurence Bowen and Emmy award winning Chris Carey executive produced for Dancing Ledge Productions alongside Martin Freeman, and Mona Qureshi for BBC One. Premiere: May 24 (US ONLY)
The Thief, His Wife, and The Canoe – This is the true story of prison officer John Darwin (Eddie Marsan), who was Ssuffocated by debts and, prison officer John Darwin (Eddie Marsan) pretended to drown in a canoe accident so his wife could make fraudulent claims on their insurance. Anne Darwin played the grieving widow whilst police investigated his disappearance. Yet all along John Dawrin was living in an apartment in the house next door to his wife, regularly visiting her through an interconnecting passage. Devastated by the loss of their father, neither of their sons had an inkling their parents had betrayed them. Tired of laying low in England, John Darwin assumed a fake identity and left the country to invest in money making schemes. After these schemes failed, John Darwin persuaded Anne to leave England and start a new life in Panama. 5 years after faking his death, John returned to England and walked into a police station pretending he had amnesia. Their secret was finally revealed following the discovery of a photo of them posing together in a real estate office years after his disappearance. This gripping and surprising true crime series is told through Anne Darwin’s eyes. The series delves deep into a woman who appears to be under her husband’s control and who argued at trial she had been coerced to go along with it all. Was she to blame for her part in her husband’s absurd scheme? Produced by Story Films for ITV, UK in association with All3Media International. Premiere: To Be Announced
The Bay Season 3 – Marsha Townsend (White Collar), joins the cast in the third season of The Bay as DS Jenn Townsend. On Townsend’s first day on the job, she is thrown in the deep end when a body is found in the Bay. She must get under the skin of a grieving and complicated family if she has any chance of solving the murder, whilst at the same time proving herself to her new colleagues. The pressure is multiplied when her new blended family struggles to settle into their new home in Morecambe, proving to Jenn that a fresh start might not be quite as simple as moving to a different town. Produced by Tall Story Pictures. Premiere: March 15
Grace Season 2 – Grace is back with three brand new episodes, adapted from international bestselling author Peter James’s award-winning novels and starring John Simm (Crime and Punishment) in the lead role of the tenacious detective, DSI Roy Grace. The acclaimed screenwriter and Endeavour creator, Russell Lewis adapted this 3 part series entitled Not Dead Enough, Dead Man’s Footsteps and Dead Tomorrow. DSI Roy Grace is a hard-working police officer who has given his life to the job, but walks a career tightrope, as he has the tendency to use controversial tactics and clash with his boss, ACC Vosper, played by Rakie Ayola (Noughts + Crosses). Richie Campbell (Small Axe) also reprises his role as DS Glenn Branson and works alongside Grace to investigate the murder of a wealthy socialite, brushing elbows with one of Brighton’s oldest crime families, and searching for answers when a body is dredged up from a seabed, all while Grace confronts the personal and professional ghosts of hist past. Co-produced by Second Act Productions, Tall Story Pictures (both part of ITV Studios) and Vaudevlle Productons, and is distributed by ITV Studios. Premiere: To Be Announced