News round-up: Agatha Christie doc sells into Nordics; Smithsonian boards Pernel’s pyramid; ZED preps wildlife for ATF

Agatha Christie doc sells into Nordics

Inside The Mind of Agatha Christie

TV4 in Sweden and TV2 in Denmark have picked up a Channel 5 documentary that explores the life and work of mystery novel doyen, Agatha Christie.

Inside The Mind of Agatha Christie will provide access to the author’s personal notebooks, letters and diaries as well as never-before-seen documents that reveal how Christie’s mind worked and how this influenced her writing.

The 1 x 60 minute special will also include a rare interview with the writer’s grandson, Mathew Pritchard, and is being produced by London-based indie Knickerbockerglory. It will premiere on Channel 5 on Sunday, 15 December at 20.00 and is being sold by specialist factual distributor Silverlining.

Bethan Corney, MD of Silverlining, said: “2020 marks 130 years since Agatha Christie’s birth and many channels will be running Christie dramas to mark the anniversary.

“For those broadcasters looking for something different to complement that content, this documentary will sprinkle some star dust on her story in a really unique way, using drama clips, archive and specially-shot sequences.”

ZED preps wildlife trio for ATF

Genius Sea Hunters

French producer and distributor ZED has added three wildlife productions to its slate that are being launched at next week’s Asia Television Forum.

Kalahari, Land Of Secret Alliances is directed by Pierre Stine and produced by ZED in collaboration with Patrick Morris and explores collaboration and generosity between animals. The show has been shot in 4K and is set to debut on France 2 in 2021.

Also on the slate Wild Treasure Of China, which follows iconic species that slowly inhabit untamed wildernesses such as the Amur tiger, the Chiru (Tibetan antelope) or the moon bear.

The five-part series has been coproduced with China’s CCTV9 and has taken three years to shoot. France Télévisions, Smithsonian Channel, National Geographic Wild and NDR are already onboard.

Finally, Genius Sea Hunters is a one-off that uses drone technology to reveal the intelligence of predators and has been directed by Jérôme Julienne and John Jackson.

A 3 x 52 minute 4K version is also in the works, co-produced with Arte. It has already been pre-sold to The Smithsonian Channel, with others including AMC Networks International Southern Europe on board.

Smithsonian build pyramids with Pernel

Secrets Of The pyramids

US-based Smithsonian Channel has joined as a co-production partner on Vivendi Entertainment and Pernel Media’s 4K docudrama exploring the building of the ancient Egyptian pyramids.

Secrets Of The Pyramid Builders is a 6 x 45 minute show that revolves around the construction of the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza. It will combine 4K fictional scenes shot on location in Morocco with the latest archaeological research shot in Egypt, as well as expert interviews and CGI reconstructions.

The series has been co-written by Christopher Holt (The Real War Of Thrones) and Sigrid Clement (The French Doctor Of Kabul), who also acts as series director. Alain Brunard (Pasteur) is drama director while Pernel Media president Samuel Kissous is executive producer.

Vivendi-owned Group Canal+ will air the series on its C8 and Planète+ channels in France, with Vivendi Entertainment distributing globally. Kissous said the addition of Smithsonian “will scale up this hugely ambitious docudrama to even further heights, as well as giving it a home in the US.”

Russian, Ukrainian pick-ups for ZDFE drama

Broadcasters in Russia, Ukraine and the Baltics have picked up a raft of programming from ZDF Enterprises (ZDFE).

TV3 Russia has added the first season of The Crimson Rivers for its free-to-air service, with the detective show based on Jean-Christophe Grangé’s best-selling novel.

Russian streamer Ivi has picked up the series for its SVOD and AVOD platforms, alongside crime series Wild District, London Kills and psychological thriller Victor Lessard.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian free TV channels Inter and NTN have added the Scandinavian crime series Bron/Broen, the three-parter Bella Germania, and The Criminalist, among numerous others.

Other ZDFE deals have seen LTV Latvia adding shows including Queens Of Mystery while LNK Lithuania has picked up Nordic noir drama Before We Die, Belgian thriller Tabula Rasa and Kristina Ohlsson’s Sthlm Requiem.

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