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ITV tangos with Masked Dancer

Fox’s The Masked Singer spin-off The Masked Dancer

UK commercial broadcaster ITV is venturing further into the world of masked formats by commissioning a local version of The Masked Dancer.

The Masked Dancer was commissioned by US broadcast network Fox a year ago following its success with the US version of South Korean singing format The Masked Singer.

The UK version of The Masked Singer recently wrapped its second season on ITV and the commercial broadcaster has now followed Fox’s lead by lining up a dance version of the show.

Argonon-owned Bandicoot will again produce the series, which has been greenlit for a 7×90’ first run.

Kevin Lygo

The format sees celebrity contestants perform unique dances whilst covered from head to foot in extravagant, colourful costumes and masks, leaving the viewers and star panel to guess their identities. The Masked Dancer will launch in the late spring on ITV and the ITV Hub.

Dancer Oti Mabuse, recently a judge on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, will join the panel alongside Jonathan Ross, Mo Gilligan and Davina McCall, with Joel Dommett presenting.

It was commissioned for ITV by Katie Rawcliffe, ITV’s head of entertainment commissioning and Joe Mace, commissioning editor. The executive producers are Derek McLean, Daniel Nettleton and Claire Horton.

In related news, ITV has also commissioned a four-part drama from All3Media-back Story Films about the 2002 story of John Darwin, who faked his own death in a canoeing accident to claim life insurance and avoid bankruptcy.

The Thief, His Wife & The Canoe is being written by Chris Lang (Dark Heart, A Mother’s Son) and All3Media International will shop the show globally.

The drama was commissioned for ITV by head of drama Polly Hill and is based on an unpublished manuscript written by journalist David Leigh.

The two commissions form part of a bumper line-up revealed by ITV’s MD of media and entertainment Kevin Lygo this morning.

Elsewhere in drama, the broadcaster teased Atmospheric espionage thriller The Ipcress File, starring Joe Cole as iconic spy Harry Palmer, as well as Lucy Boynton and Tom Hollander. It is being adapted by Oscar-nominated writer John Hodge and directed by Emmy winner James Watkins.

The three-part sequel to the single film The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, titled Stephen, is in production from the same team who produced the original drama.

Sharlene Whyte will play Doreen Lawrence, whilst Steve Coogan plays Clive Driscoll and Hugh Quarshie reprises his role from the original film as Neville Lawrence. Alrick Riley is directing the drama and Madonna Baptiste producing.

Other new orders include The Void, a Saturday night gameshow that sees contestants put themselves to the test to take on a wide range of demanding mental and physical challenges, all whilst dangling at terrifying heights.

Ready to Mingle, coming to ITV2 this autumn, is a dating gameshow that follows a single girl in her search for a perfect partner, as 12 male suitors compete for her affections and the chance to win a big-money prize.

Starstruck is a new format in which ordinary members of the public with an exceptional talent team up and transform into some of the world’s biggest music icons.

Lygo also revealed the broadcaster is pushing ahead with plans for a summer version of its relationship format Love Island, which was cancelled last year at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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