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J.J. Abrams Behind BBC Xmas Adaptation;Idris Elba, Tom Hollander Board

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J.J. Abrams Behind BBC Christmas Adaptation; Idris Elba, Tom Hollander Aboard

J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions is adapting international bestseller The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse for the BBC this Christmas, with Idris Elba, Tom Hollander, Gabriel Byrne and newcomer Jude Coward Nicoll boarding. The heartfelt journey told in the novel by Charlie Mackesy will be reimagined in full colour with hand-drawn traditional animation, as Abrams combines with Cara Speller of NoneMore Productions for the adaptation. Hollander will play the mole, Elba the fox, Byrne the horse and Coward Nicoll will lead as ‘the boy’. Mackesy is co-directing with Peter Baynton and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s sister Isobel Waller-Bridge is composing the original score. “Charlie Mackesy’s heart-warming and inspirational story brought to life through NoneMore Productions’ and Bad Robot Productions’ beautiful animation, is about the importance of love, kindness and friendship,” said BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore. “It’s the perfect fit for Christmas on the BBC and a reminder to us all about what really matters in this world.”

Sister signs I May Destroy You Producer Simon Maloney

Chernobyl indie Sister has signed up I May Destroy You producer Simon Maloney as an exec for its growing Northern Sister hub in northern England. Maloney will focus on high-end scripted projects in the region, nurturing diverse talent and collaborating with Jane Featherstone and Elisabeth Murdoch’s Sister’s teams in London and LA. His first job will see him pair with Northern Sister Creative Director of Scripted Lucy Dyke to exec produce ITV and BritBox’s darkly comic thriller Passenger, the debut writing project from Broadchurch star Andrew Buchan. Maloney has an impressive producer credit list including Michaela Coel’s seminal I May Destroy You, BAFTA Award-winner Time, which starred Sean Bean and Stephen Graham, and the third season of Peaky Blinders. Dyke described him as an “inspirational producer whose extraordinary work speaks for itself.”

Canal+ beats Amazon in UEFA Champions League rights bidding war

French pay-TV giant Canal+ has secured the rights for three seasons of UEFA’s revamped Champions League, for the period running 2024 to 2027. French media reported that the company had faced stiff competition from Amazon for the rights. It marks an important coup for Canal+, which has struggled to retain exclusive access to sports events, cinema and high-end drama at the heart of its offering in the face of increased competition from the global platforms. Amazon caused a major upset in France last June after securing rights for the lion’s share of the country’s top Ligue 1 championship for the 2021-2022 season. French reports in March said the platform could also be eying rights for the country’s Coupe de France competition, after the French Football Federation opened bidding for the coming three seasons.

Viaplay Partners With Paramount Global

Nordic media outfit Viaplay has struck a content licensing deal with Paramount Global for a wealth of CBS, The CW and Showtime series and boxsets. The likes of CSI: Vegas and Good Sam will come to the Nordic and Baltic regions, as Viaplay, which recently rebranded from Nent Group, expands its reach. Other shows comprised in the deal include The Good Wife, Cheers and Elementary. “Paramount is one of Hollywood’s most renowned storytellers, and Viaplay viewers in 10 countries can now enjoy many of the biggest and best shows,” said Filippa Wallestam, Viaplay Group Chief Content Officer.

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