European satcaster Sky and Amazon Prime Video in the US are to coproduce a big-budget drama focusing on the Roman Imperial Army.
The pair have enlisted Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem) to pen Britannia, which will be set in AD43 and run to ten episodes. It will air on Sky 1 in the UK and Ireland on Amazon in the US in 2017.
The series marks the first time Amazon has entirely produced a drama outside of the US.
Britannia will follow the Roman army as it attempts to crush Celtic forces in Britannia (aka Great Britain).
“Here we have a war between two pantheons – the Roman gods v the Celtic gods,” said Butterworth. “It’s the ‘Heavyweight Clash of All Time’, the one which most shapes who we are today.”
Kelly Reilly (True Detective, pictured), David Morrissey (The Walking Dead), Zoë Wanamaker (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) and Stanley Weber (Outlander) will star.
Sky Vision, Sky’s sales arm, has international distribution rights. It negotiated the coproduction agreement with Amazon along withUS agency WME IMG.
Sky currently has 12 original dramas on its slate broadcasting or in production, including The Young Pope, Guerilla and Delicious, while SVOD service Amazon’s US service offers originals including The Man in the High Castle, Bosch and Sneaky Pete.
Sky’s head of drama, Anne Mensah, commissioned the show along with commissioning editor Cameron Roach and Sky 1 director Adam MacDonald and Amazon Studio’s VP, digital video Roy Price.
Mensah said it was “one of the most ambitious dramas we’ve ever made”.
Vertigo Films and All3Media-owned Neal Street Productions are coproducing, with James Richardson from the former and Pippa Harris and Nicolas Brown from the latter executive producing with Anne Thomopoulos (Penny Dreadful).
Rick McCallum (Star Wars) is producing with, Jez and Tom Butterworth (Fortitude) and Richard McBrien (Spooks) the lead writers.
Britannia shoots on location in Wales and Prague, Czech Republic.