Saudi Arabian streamer Shahid VIP has unveiled its “biggest production” to date with a new true crime drama from Life On Mars and Hustle creator Tony Jordan.
Rashash (8 x 60-minute) is being written by Jordan, Sheikha Suha Al Khalifa and Richard Bellamy, with Collin Teague (Torchwood, Doctor Who) directing.
MBC Studios, the production arm of Shahid VIP parent MBC Group, is producing, while Luke Bryant (I Hate Suzie, The Reckoning) is director of photography.
The Saudi Arabic-language show will launch 21 January exclusively on Shahid VIP, with owners MBC claiming that the drama is the “biggest” production by a streaming platform in the region so far.
The eight-part series features an all-Saudi cast – including Yagoub Al Farhan and Nayef Al Dhufairi – and tracks the life of notorious criminal Rashash Saif Mubarak al-Utaibi in 1980s Saudi Arabia.
The story follows the real events around Rashash’s early life and his criminal enterprise, before focusing on a young Saudi police officer’s efforts to bring him to justice. Episodes will be dropped weekly.
‘Multi-million dollar production’
Rashash is one of the first major projects to emerge from MBC as it looks to ramp up the international presence of Shahid VIP, which was rolled out into North America in October.
The company, which re-appointed Sam Barnett as its CEO in December to replace former Zodiak Media CEO Marc Antoine d’Halluin, has been spending deeply on the streaming service, hiring former Viaplay exec Jakob Mejlhede Andersen to oversee its content push. He told TBI Talks last year that the streamer was looking to “substantially” ramp up budgets for its drama.
The cost of Rashash, which is subtitled in English, has not been revealed but MBC said it was a “multi-million dollar” production.
MBC has also recently struck content partnership with Facebook to develop content for the social media service’s VOD platform Facebook Watch.