After the success of the Children of Earth miniseries during the third season of Torchwood the producers wanted to do something similar with a larger budget. Initially there was talk of co-producing Torchwood with Fox but the negotiations broke down. The BBC announced today that a deal was reached to produce a ten episode series with Starz. From the press release:
BBC Cymru Wales, BBC Worldwide and US premium entertainment network Starz Entertainment have today announced a three-way co-production partnership that will develop a new series of the hit BBC sci-fi drama Torchwood. BBC Worldwide will also distribute the series to broadcasters globally.
The 10-episode instalment will be written by a team led by Torchwood creator Russell T Davies and produced by BBC Worldwide productions.
Davies and BBC Worldwide Productions’ SVP Scripted, Julie Gardner, return as executive producers with BBC Worldwide Productions EVP Jane Tranter. The series has been commissioned by Controller BBC One, Jay Hunt, Controller BBC Drama, Ben Stephenson and Starz President and CEO, Chris Albrecht.
While previous series were based on location in Cardiff, Wales, this new instalment will see storylines widen to include locations in the US and around the world.
John Barrowman and Eve Myles will return in their roles as Captain Jack and Gwen respectively, along with new faces.
Announcing the commission, Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, said: “We have a long history of working with many US networks, but it is incredibly exciting to be working with Starz for the first time, as well as to be reunited with the best of British in Russell, Jane and Julie.
“Torchwood will burst back onto the screen with a shocking and moving story with global stakes and locations that will make it feel bigger and bolder than ever.”
The Hollywood Reporter interviewed Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht and Russell T. Davies. Albrecht confirmed that Torchwood would now have a larger budget and while discussing the show:
THR: What attracted you to “Torchwood”?
Albrecht: It was too good an opportunity to pass up. Each season of the show, the show has evolved and “The Children of Earth” was terrific as evident in it was just named a Television Critics Press Awards nominee. I’m interested in doing sci-fi and what I like a lot about “Torchwood” is it’s a very classic sci-fi entry. It’s all about the story, it’s not about big effects. I thought “Children of Earth” evolved the franchise to a place where it could continue to evolve on pay TV with an American partner that could bring more production resources.
THR: And by that you mean “Torchwood” will have a larger budget?
Albrecht: Yes, it certainly will.
THR: What changes are in store for fans?
Albrecht: Well at the end of “Children of Earth,” Torchwood was destroyed, so when we pick up in our world the need for Torchwood arises again. A lot of this story takes place in the U.S. as well with several characters that are in the U.S. intelligence forces and end up teaming up with Gwen and Captain Jack to deal with the situation at hand.
THR: So it will take place in the UK and the US?
Albrecht: As well as other locations.
Davies gave more information on the new series:
THR: What’s the new “Torchwood” like?
Davies: It’s very much the next step. It’s not a new version, it’s not a reboot. We’re simply moving countries. The show was previously a format show — monster of the week. The breakthrough was “Children of Earth” and that it became one long story. It’s not going to be ‘Lost’ and take 20 years to find out what’s going on. It’s going to have a most remarkable conclusion after 10 episodes.
THR: This was set up at Fox, what happened there?
Davies: We had a brilliant relationship with them. Thanks to them we were allowed to develop it and take it to Starz — some networks don’t allow you to do that, you know. They were very gracious. They have their new Steven Spielberg series (“Terra Nova”). Starz was waiting for us with open arms.
THR: Being on Starz would also allow you to have more grown-up content.
Davies: We’re simply going to tell a good story. I wrote the pilot 7 months ago irregardless of network. BBC1 is a prime-time channel, but a brave channel. I don’t worry about content.
THR: In “Torchwood” people know aliens exist. I take it that will be true in the United States as well?
Davies: Yes, in the “Torchwood” universe, you’re in a place where aliens long ago went public. It’s like with terrorists. We all know terrorists exist, but if you found yourself in a room with one, you’d be in for a profound shock. You’re never in a position where you take it for granted. I absolutely guarantee that you can leap in as a new viewer and be able to find everything.
The New York Times reports that the series will air in the summer of 2011.