Sky and Amazon US announce major new drama co-production, Britannia

Sky and Amazon US have today announced a major new original drama series, Britannia, as the first co-production between the two companies. Written by the multi-award-winning Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem, Spectre), the series stars Kelly Reilly (True Detective, Sherlock Holmes), David Morrissey (The Walking Dead, The Hollow Crown), Zoë Wanamaker (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, My Family) and Stanley Weber (Outlander). 

The 10-part drama is set in 43AD as the Roman Imperial Army – determined and terrified in equal measure - returns to crush the Celtic heart of Britannia - a mysterious land ruled by wild warrior women and powerful druids who can channel the powerful forces of the underworld. Britannia is shooting on location in Prague and Wales and will air on Sky 1 in the UK and Ireland and be available on Amazon Prime Video in the US in 2017.  

For Sky, Britannia joins 12 original drama series already on air or set to air over the next couple of years on Sky Atlantic and Sky 1, including The Young Pope, Hooten & The Lady, Guerrilla, Tin Star, Delicious, Riviera, Jamestown and The Last Dragonslayer, as well as returning series including Fortitude and Agatha Raisin. The news also follows a successful year for Sky original drama, with BAFTA nominations for The Last Panthers and The Enfield Haunting and record-breaking audiences for Stan Lee’s Lucky Man on Sky 1. In the US, Britannia adds to a growing roster of dramatic Amazon Original Series, including The Man in the High Castle, Bosch and Hand of God, as well as upcoming series Goliath, Good Girls Revolt, Sneaky Pete and Patriot.

Britannia was commissioned by Sky’s Head of Drama Anne Mensah, Commissioning Editor, Cameron Roach and Director of Sky 1, Adam MacDonald, alongside Roy Price, Vice President, Digital Video and Amazon Studios. Vertigo Films’ James Richardson (Monsters, Bronson) will executive produce with Pippa Harris and Nicolas Brown from Neal Street Productions (Penny Dreadful, Call the Midwife) and Anne Thomopoulos (Rome, Band of Brothers). It will be produced by Star Wars’ Rick McCallum, while Jez and Tom Butterworth (Fortitude, Tin Star) will lead as writers with Richard McBrien (Spooks, Merlin).   

The international distribution rights (excluding the US) for Britannia will be handled by Sky Vision, Sky’s international production and distribution arm. WME and Sky Vision negotiated the deal with Amazon. 

Commenting on the show, Jez Butterworth said: “Besides being hard, hard warriors, the Celts have a belief system which makes them almost invincible. It’s a deep, heavy magic. Last time the Romans tried to invade, the mighty Julius Caesar took one look, turned round and went straight home. Now, almost a century later, the Romans are back. I’m fascinated in what happens when gods die. When an entire, ancient faith stalls, topples, collapses - and a whole new one grows in its place. New names, new faces, to suit the new times. Here we have a war between two pantheons - the Roman gods v the Celtic gods. It’s the Heavyweight Clash of All Time, the one which most shapes who we are today. And we see it all from a human perspective, of individual survival, ambition, courage, lust, loss, revenge. All the stuff the gods have always loved us humans for the most!”

Kelly Reilly said: "I am thrilled to be joining the production of Britannia, a story rooted in the heart of our ancient history. Collaborating with great creative minds is what I love most about my job, and having one of Britain’s leading playwrights, Jez Butterworth, come on board to bring Celtic Britain alive has made this a fiercely exciting project. The vision is big and bold and beautiful, and I can’t wait to get my hands dirty.”

David Morrissey added: "I have been a fan of Jez's writing for a long, long time, so to get the chance to work with him on this epic tale is very exciting. His dialogue and storytelling are second to none. I am also really looking forward to working with the brilliant cast that has been assembled for Britannia - I just hope I get a nice horse!" 

Anne Mensah, Sky’s Head of Drama said: “This is one of the most ambitious dramas we’ve ever made and one of the most exciting. Jez Butterworth has written an incredible drama that is entertaining and emotional but also asks important questions about what drives men and women to stand and fight. This is a battle for the heart of Britain like you’ve never seen before.”

Roy Price, Vice President, Digital Video and Amazon Studios, said: “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Sky on our first series entirely produced overseas. Our customers will experience a cinematic world with bold characters anchored in a ruthless period of history.” 

For further information, please contact:

Claire Barson
Sky Content PR
Claire.Barson@sky.uk
+447966 993 986

Allie Elwell
IJPR
Allie@IJPR.co.uk
07957 354 444

Notes to editors:

Britannia will star Kelly Reilly (True Detective, Sherlock Holmes), David Morrissey (The Walking Dead, The Hollow Crown), Zoë Wanamaker (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, My Family), Hugo Speer (The Musketeers, The Fully Monty), Nikolaj Lie Kaas (The Killing), Stanley Weber (Outlander), Eleanor Worthington-Cox (BAFTA nominated for Sky original drama The Enfield Haunting) and Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith, Utopia). 

The drama begins in 43AD as the Roman Imperial Army – determined and terrified in equal measure - returns to crush the Celtic heart of Britannia - a mysterious land ruled by wild warrior women and powerful druids who can channel the powerful forces of the underworld.  Arch rivals Kerra (Kelly Reilly) and Antedia (Zoë Wanamaker) must set their differences to one side in order to combat the terrifying Roman invasion, led by the towering figure of Aulus Plautius (David Morrissey) as it cuts a swathe through the Celtic resistance.  

Britannia is a co-production with Vertigo Films (Monsters, StreetDance, The Sweeney) in association with Neal Street Productions (The Hollow Crown, Call the Midwife and Penny Dreadful), an All3Media company. 


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About Sky Vision

Sky Vision is the production and distribution arm of Sky. The distribution arm is the fastest growing Top 10 distributor in the UK (Broadcast Distributors’ Survey 2015) and represents around 5,000 hours of quality primetime programming from Sky Originals and independent third party production, across all key primetime genres (drama, entertainment, factual entertainment and factual).

The business also has equity investments in seven production businesses in the UK and US; Love Productions, Blast! Films, Sugar Films and Sky Vision Productions in the UK; and in the US, Jupiter Entertainment, Talos Films and Znak & Jones.

In addition to its equity investments, Sky Vision works extensively with independent producers in the UK and US and has development deals with a number of production companies; including Asylum Entertainment and Peacock Alley in North America; and Avanti Media, back2back productions, Chalkboard, Hungry Bear Media, LittleRock Pictures, Merman Films, Spring Films, and Roughcut TV in the UK.