Disney+ unveils initial UK scripted slate in European originals push

Disney+ has unveiled its first slate of scripted UK originals, including a swashbuckling adventure, a post-heist thriller and a super-powered comedy.

Two of the productions will be Star-branded originals while the other will be a Disney-branded original, with the commissions forming part of the company’s commitment to source, develop and produce 50 original productions in Europe by 2024.

The Ballad Of Renegade Nell is being produced by BBC Studios-backed Lookout Point (A Suitable Boy) as a Disney-branded original and written by Sally Wainwright (Gentleman Jack, Happy Valley), who also exec produces alongside Faith Penhale and Will Johnston.

Set in the 18th century, the adventure series follows Nell Jackson, who is forced into a life of highway robbery, alongside her orphaned sisters, after being framed for murder. Aided by a “plucky little spirit” called Billy Blind, Nell realises that fate has put her on the wrong side of the law for much bigger reason than she could ever have imagined; a reason that goes right up to Queen Anne and beyond, to the struggle for power raging across the battlefields of Europe.

Star Original commission Culprits, meanwhile, is created and directed by J Blakeson (I Care A Lot, The Disappearance Of Alice Creed) and produced by Morenike Williams (Killing Eve) for Character 7. Stephen Garrett (The Undoing, The Night Manager) will exec produce.

The drama series follows what happens after a heist, when the crew have gone their separate ways, but are being targeted by a killer one-by-one.

Extraordinary, is a Star Original comedy series created by debut writer Emma Moran and produced by Sid Gentle Films, with Sally Woodward Gentle, Lee Morris and Charles Dawson to exec produce.

Described as “a celebration of the anti-hero”, the series follows Jen, a young woman who lives in a world where everyone has a superpower – except her.

These new scripted commissions follow the announcement earlier this week of Disney+’s first unscripted commission, Save Our Squad, a factual entertainment series from football star David Beckham’s Studio 99 and WarnerMedia’s Twenty Twenty.

The orders now also bring the total number of European Disney+ productions to 14 of its 50-project target. They will all be executive produced for Disney by director of scripted Johanna Devereaux, who commented: “It is a pleasure and a privilege to be working with these exceptional writers and producers.

“The Walt Disney Company is deeply committed to supporting diverse, ambitious storytelling from renowned creators and brand new voices, and we are thrilled to welcome Sally, J, Emma, and their outstanding producing teams to Disney+.”

In February, Disney+ hired two new execs in Spain and Germany to head up original productions and unveiled a slate of 10 European commissions, including four-part miniseries Oussekine and docuseries Soprano: Sing Or Die. The Mouse House also promoted veteran exec Marc Buhaj to VP of unscripted series and specials for Disney Branded Television, with oversight of non-fiction content for Disney+, as well as unscripted content for the company’s linear platforms.

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