Omnifilm to produce BritBox’s first original drama

Michael MacLennan is attached as showrunner on the Canadian series Bletchley Circle: San Francisco, with Kew Media handing international distribution.

Michael MacLennanSVOD platform BritBox has given the greenlight to its first-ever original drama series, Bletchley Circle: San Francisco (8 x 60 minutes), with Vancouver’s Omnifilm Entertainment set to produce.

The prodco is reviving the code-breaking mystery The Bletchley Circle, which ran for two seasons on U.K. net ITV from 2012 to 2014, tapping Canadian showrunner Michael MacLennan (Bomb Girls, Flashpoint, pictured) to lead the project. Production is slated to begin in Vancouver in March, with Kew Media handling international distribution and Omnifilm handling domestic rights.

Omnifilm principal and executive producer Brian Hamilton told Playback Daily the Vancouver prodco’s distribution division, Omnifilm Releasing, is  currently in discussion with several Canadian buyers for linear TV rights. The show will premiere later this year on Britbox in the U.S. and on ITV in the U.K.

Britbox, a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and ITV, launched in the U.S. in March 2017. The SVOD announced in December that it would expand into Canada, though no timelines have been given.

Bletchley Circle: San Francisco is produced by Omnifilm, in association with BritBox and London-based prodco World Productions, which produced the original version and which was later acquired by ITV Studios. Omnifilm optioned the rights to the original series from World Productions and developed the new project in consultation with the the London-based prodco. Rachael Stirling (Their Finest) and Julie Graham (Shetland), who starred in the original seasons, will reprise their roles.

Set in the 1950s, the original series tells the story of four women who work at a secret facility at Bletchley Park deciphering German military codes for the British army. The upcoming version follows two of those characters, Millie and Jean, as they depart London for San Francisco to work with U.S. codebreakers tasked with solving a series of murder cases.

Executive producers on the series include Guy Burt, who created the original, World Productions’ Jake Lushington, Omnifilm’s Brian Hamilton, Gabriela Schonbach and Michael Chechik along with MacLennan. Additional writers on the project are Damon Vignale and Rachel Langer.

Bitten writer/exec producer Daegan Fryklind was originally tapped to showrun the series but, after overseeing the early development process, had to step down due to scheduling commitments.