UK diginet Sky Atlantic is developing a drama set on the world’s highest mountain, helmed by the filmmaker behind a feature-length biopic about Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna.
Senna director Asif Kapadia and UK indie Kudos Film & Television, led by creative director Jane Featherstone, are behind the series about Mount Everest, which will be filmed on location in the Himalayas.
Elaine Pyke, Atlantic’s channel director, told C21′s Schedule Watch conference at Bafta in London yesterday: “Asif’s an extraordinary talent and he wants to do a drama about Everest, filmed near Everest. And I think, ‘Why not?’.
“It may be that it won’t be possible but we’ve got to go down that line of developing big ideas because that’s so key to us. We want to offer something different, something truly exciting, to find something that has a global appeal.”
Stuart Murphy, director of programmes for Sky1, Sky2 and Sky3, added: “I hate it when commissioners sit on an idea for a year and a half. It’s a nightmare. We just haven’t got time to do that so within a couple of weeks we were just like ‘Go for it.’”
Pyke said she is also looking for returnable factual entertainment series to fill Atlantic’s 20.00 slot, which will lead into the network’s flagship drama series. She described the slot as “a problem,” while Murphy said finding something for 20.00 was “a pressing need” for Atlantic and that between £50,000 and £90,000 per hour was up for grabs for the right idea.
“I’d really like to crack 20.00,” Pyke said. “I really want to find a returning factual series that can be a brand identifier for us. So rather than all the drama being the key channel identifiers, I’d love to find my Grand Designs, that kind of fantastic, beautiful factual show where we can really break ground, which is smart and sophisticated. It’s intelligent but it’s ultimately great entertainment as well, and also has a story behind it.
“20.00 is really key slot. It’s also the slot that leads into our real stake-holding shows so we really need to get that right. Next autumn there’s definitely lots of opportunities.”
Sky Atlantic launched in February this year, backed by an output deal with HBO that has seen Boardwalk Empire, Mildred Pierce and Game of Thrones all air on the UK network.