RTÉ, Acorn partner on Victorian drama ‘Dead Still’

Irish broadcaster RTÉ and Acorn Media Enterprises (AME) have co-commissioned Victorian mystery Dead Still.

The project is the latest drama venture for AME, the UK-based development division for AMC-backed SVOD service Acorn TV, which is owned by RLJ Entertainment. Together, Acorn TV with AME have commissioned a number of series, including series two and three of Agatha Raisin, drama London Kills in corporation with ZDF Enterprises, and Queens of Mystery, also with ZDF Enterprises.

Dublin’s Deadpan Pictures and Toronto-headquartered Shaftesbury are to co-produce the Ireland-set Dead Still alongside ZDF Enterprises.

Set in 1880s Ireland in the Victorian era heyday of post-mortem photography, the six-episode drama follows a renowned memorial photographer as he investigates the murders of his recently deceased subjects.

Dead Still is written by John Morton and directed by Imogen Murphy and Craig David Wallace.

Acorn Media Enterprises has secured all rights in the US, Australia, New Zealand and UK; co-premiere rights in Canada; and secondary rights in Ireland.

ZDF Enterprises will distribute the series — which was developed with the support of Screen Ireland and Creative Europe — in the rest of the world.

The drama will premiere in 2020 on RTÉ in Ireland and on SVOD service Acorn TV in the US as an Acorn Original.

Executive producers include Paul Donovan, Ailish McElmeel, Christina Jennings, and Scott Garvie. It is produced by Suzanne McAuley.

Shane Murphy, group head of drama and comedy for RTÉ, said: “John Morton has written a truly unique series and RTÉ is delighted to work with Deadpan Pictures again and our partners at Acorn, ZDF Enterprises, and Shaftesbury. We can’t wait to introduce this mysterious and intriguing drama to Irish audiences.”

Catherine Mackin, MD of Acorn Media Enterprises, added: “Given the popularity of RTÉ’s Striking Out, Acceptable Risk and Finding Joy with Acorn TV subscribers, we’re thrilled to commission a first-rate period drama with our friends at RTÉ. With its fascinating setting, gallows humour, inventive storylines and stellar cast, Dead Stillwill offer a fresh take on the genre and is sure to interest fans of international dramas.”

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