The BBC’s latest reworking of Alexandre Dumas’ 19th century novel is a “natural fit” for Latin American audiences, according to BBC Worldwide’s executive VP Fred Melina, thanks to the continent’s passion for literature and storytelling.
As with an already-proven BBC hit based on the same principle – Sherlock – The Musketeers will gain traction because “these stories are well known to the region and the demand is high”, says the BBCWW exec. “Ultimately, it’s about good storytelling. What we have clearly demonstrated over the past few decades is that the BBC is one of the best storytelling organisations in the world, so it’s always about what the next big production to bring into the region is.”
Big-scale productions require big-scale budgets and big-name actors and The Musketeers has secured both. UK-based BBC Drama Production, commercial arm BBCWW, British pubcaster BBC One and US cable channel BBC America are coproducing the 10x60mins show, with the channels getting first windows and Worldwide launching the series officially at its BBC Showcase event in the British city of Liverpool later this year. A soft launch at NATPE in Miami this month will give international buyers an early opportunity to see footage.
On the talent front, Luke Pasqualino (Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome) plays protagonist d’Artagnan, Tom Burke (The Hour) plays Athos, Howard Charles (Sound) plays Porthos and Chilean-born actor Santiago Cabrera (Heroes), who is a big star in his home country and known throughout Latin America, is Aramis. Peter Capaldi (aka the new star of Doctor Who) adds some star power as the scheming Cardinal Richelieu.
Another interesting angle for Latin buyers is Melina’s assertion that it contains all the ingredients found in a typical telenovela despite being a broad, UK- and US-produced period action drama on the face of it. “In telenovelas there’s passion, romance, action and a hero. Musketeers has all these components but does it as a high quality BBC production.”
The show: The Musketeers
The distributor: BBC Worldwide
The producer: BBC Drama Production, BBC America, BBC Worldwide
The broadcasters: BBC One (UK), BBC America (US)
The concept: A modern retelling of literary classic The Three Musketeers