BBC Four acquires two new dramas

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Since the introduction of Spiral in 2006, acquired drama has found a regular home on BBC Four. Subsequent series including Wallander, The Killing, Borgen, Inspector Montalbano, Mad Men, The Slap and The Bridge have established BBC Four’s reputation for showcasing outstanding content from across the world.

Richard Klein, Controller of BBC Four, comments: “These acquisitions are part of BBC Four’s ongoing mission to give viewers an excuse to stay in on a Saturday night by offering an entertaining alternative to Saturday television viewing. Arne Dahl continues in the tradition of The Killing and Wallander in portraying a social hinterland through the prism of the day-to-day of police investigation; and Inspector Da Luca is a clever and hugely entertaining drama that portrays wartime Italy in a way that is both very familiar to our own war time experiences and intriguingly foreign.”

The success of acquired drama on a Saturday night has seen the slot grow more than threefold since 2009 with a 2.9 per cent share of the audience in 2012 (compared with 0.9 per cent audience share in 2009).

Sue Deeks, Head of Programme Acquisition adds: “We are really thrilled with the increasing audience to, and appreciation of, BBC Four’s international drama offering – but we have no intention of resting on our laurels. This year BBC Four viewers can look forward to the return of existing favourites and brand new series which we hope will provide more compelling reasons to travel the world on a Saturday night!”

Today, BBC Four has announced two exciting additions to an outstanding new year of international drama and film on the Channel: Swedish crime series Arne Dahl and Italian series Inspector Da Luca.

Arne Dahl (a pseudonym of the award winning author Jan Arnald) is based on five of Dahl’s novels, beginning with The Blinded Man. The series revolves around a tight-knit team of elite specialists who investigate the dark side of society. It is produced by Filmlance International and written by Rolf Börjlind and Cecilia Börjlind.

Inspector Da Luca is made by Ager 3/Rai Radiotelevisione Italiana. A four-part crime series based on the novels by Carlo Lucarelli, it is set in and around Bologna during the tumultuous years of Mussolini’s dictatorship. Inspector Da Luca is an investigator whose brutal honesty and uncompromising character may help him solve cases, but combined with his love of women, they also conspire to get him in trouble…

Other acquired drama and film highlights to look forward to in 2013 include: 

International drama

Young Montalbano

Set in the early 1990s and starring Michele Riondino in the title role, Young Montalbano gives an insight into the private life and early crime-fighting career of the idiosyncratic Sicilian detective. This prequel series, also written by Andrea Camilleri, was recently shown to critical acclaim in Italy.

Borgen, series 3

We last saw Danish Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) calling a general election. Two and a half years later, Lars Hesselboe (Søren Spanning) is leading the government and Birgitte Nyborg has left the political stage. Following the divorce from her husband in season two, Birgitte and her children are moving house, and her daughter Laura is much improved from the anxiety attacks which affected her when her mother was Prime Minister. Disillusioned with the political situation in Denmark, and in particular with the compromises the Moderate Party are making with the new government, her old friend and mentor, Bent Sejrø (Lars Knutzon) tries to persuade her to re-enter the arena…

The Bridge, series 2

A rusty old coaster en route in the Öresund sound suddenly veers off course and heads for the Øresund Bridge. The Maritime Administration in Malmö calls the coaster, but gets no answer. The operator’s call echoes on the ship’s empty bridge. The crew is nowhere to be seen…

Meanwhile, the coaster, making good speed, rams the concrete foundations laid out to protect the bridge. The ship is empty – or so it is believed until five people are found chained, cold and exhausted below deck. Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) from Malmö CID arrives at the scene and starts working on finding the identities of the five people.

The unknown victims, of whom three are Swedish and two Danish, are brought to a hospital in Malmö. Without hesitation, Saga contacts her Danish colleague, Martin Rhode (Kim Bodnia) and their new investigation begins.

Inspector Montalbano

The popular Sicilian detective makes a welcome return in four brand new episodes.

Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War

A 2×85-minute dramatization of the story of World Series Cricket and its creator, Australian media mogul Kerry Packer, who signed up the world’s greatest players, brought the cricketing establishment to its knees and changed the face of the modern game.

International film

The Skin I Live In

Bafta-winning thriller from acclaimed director Pedro Almodovar, starring Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya.  After the death of his wife in a car accident, eminent plastic surgeon Dr Robert Ledgard spends many years striving to create an indestructible synthetic skin which could have saved her. Finally, he is ready to go ahead with a trial –  all he needs is a human guinea pig…

The King Of Devil’s Island

Based on a true story, The King of Devil’s Island tells the unsettling tale of a group of young delinquents banished to the remote prison of Bastøy in Norway. Under the guise of rehabilitation the boys suffer a gruelling daily regime at the hands of their wardens until the arrival of new boys Erling and Ivar spark a chain of events that ultimately ignite rebellion.

In A Better World

Oscar and Golden Globe-winning film, directed by Susanne Bier. Anton is a doctor who commutes between his home in an idyllic town in Denmark and his work at an African refugee camp. Anton and his wife Marianne, who have two young sons, are separated and struggling with the possibility of divorce. Their older son, 10-year-old Elias is being bullied at school, until he is defended by Christian, who has just moved from London with his father, Claus. Elias and Christian quickly form a strong bond, but when Christian involves Elias in a dangerous act of revenge, their friendship is tested and lives are put in danger.

Point Blank

In this action-packed French thriller, Samuel Pierret is a nurse who saves the life of a criminal whose gang then take Samuel’s pregnant wife hostage to force him to help their boss escape. A race through the subways and streets of Paris ensues. As the body-count rises, Samuel must evade the cops and the criminal underground to rescue his wife.