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Alchemy mines diamond trade for drama

UK/US production company Alchemy Television has teamed up with Toronto’s Sienna Films to coproduce a US$15m drama miniseries set in the international diamond trade.

Production has started on Diamonds, which stars James Purefoy (Rome), Sir Derek Jacobi and Judy Davis, with locations including South Africa, London and Canada.

The series, which will air on Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 and Canadian broadcaster CBC, weaves together a number of plotlines to expose the complex workings of the diamond business. The miniseries is penned by David Vainola (The Other Prison, Curiosities) and directed by Andy Wilson (Spooks, Cracker).

Alchemy chief exec Carrie Stein said shooting in South Africa is hoped to add a level of authenticity to the drama. “Our producing partners, Sienna Films, have spent four years developing this project, and together with David Vainola have masterfully woven together a story that explores all facets of the diamond trade,” she said.

The plot revolves around Davis, who plays a US senator whose daughter is murdered at a diamond mine in central Africa. On travelling to the region, Davis is immersed in intrigue that leads from the presidential palace in Sierra Leone to the Cape Town estate of a diamond company head (Jacobi) and his ruthless son (Purefoy), who is looking to restore their corporation to its former glory.

The miniseries is coproduced with South Africa’s Philo Films and Paris-based Breakout Films. Principal photography is expected to conclude in December, with the finished product due to be delivered in April 2008.

Alchemy previously worked alongside Sony Television in financing the US$35m six-hour miniseries The Company, and on the US$30m remake of War and Peace starring Brenda Blethyn and Malcolm McDowell.

The company launched its non-scripted division Alchemy Reality at MipTV earlier this year.


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