The elite alien-fighting squad of Torchwood — well, the two members who remain — will return at last. The BBC announced a co-production deal with U.S. cable network Starz. Update: Russell T. Davies speaks!
I think we can all heave a sigh of relief that the Fox version of Torchwood never came to pass. Instead, the show seems to be staying under the BBC's control, but with Starz fronting some money. Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht says the show "certainly will" have a larger budget thanks to the co-production deal. And Albrecht tells the Hollywood Reporter,
At the end of "Children of Earth," Torchwood was destroyed, so when we pick up in our world the need for Torchwood arises again. A lot of this story takes place in the U.S. as well with several characters that are in the U.S. intelligence forces and end up teaming up with Gwen and Captain Jack to deal with the situation at hand.
Adds creator Russell T. Davies:
It's very much the next step. It's not a new version, it's not a reboot. We're simply moving countries. The show was previously a format show — monster of the week. The breakthrough was "Children of Earth" and that it became one long story. It's not going to be 'Lost' and take 20 years to find out what's going on. It's going to have a most remarkable conclusion after 10 episodes.
He adds that the first episode is the same pilot he wrote for Fox seven months ago, and Fox graciously allowed him to take the project to Starz. And this will still be the same universe, where everybody knows aliens are real — but a new viewer will be able to jump in right away.
Here's the official press release:
BBC Cymru Wales, BBC Worldwide and US premium entertainment network, Starz Entertainment, have today announced a three way co-production partnership that will develop a new series of the hit BBC sci-fi drama Torchwood. BBC Worldwide will also distribute the series to broadcasters globally.
The 10-episode instalment will be written by a team led by Torchwood creator, Russell T Davies, and produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. Davies and BBC Worldwide Productions' SVP Scripted, Julie Gardner, return as executive producers with BBC Worldwide Productions EVP Jane Tranter. The series has been commissioned by Controller BBC ONE, Jay Hunt, Controller BBC Drama, Ben Stephenson, and Starz President and CEO, Chris Albrecht.
While previous series were based on location in Cardiff, Wales, this new instalment will see storylines widen to include locations in the U.S. and around the world. John Barrowman and Eve Myles will return in their roles as Captain Jack and Gwen respectively, along with new faces.
Announcing the commission, Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning said: "We have a long history of working with many U.S. networks but it is incredibly exciting to be working with Starz for the first time, as well as to be reunited with the best of British in Russell, Jane and Julie. Torchwood will burst back onto the screen with a shocking and moving story with global stakes and locations that will make it feel bigger and bolder than ever"
Jane Tranter, EVP, BBC Worldwide Productions, added: "Torchwood has attracted remarkable attention and loyalty in both the UK and U.S., and in this new partnership with Starz, the next chapter will not only reward our current fans, but also introduce new viewers to the most impressive instalment yet."
"We're committed to programming exceptional television that is entertaining, imaginative and provides a premium TV experience, and by any measure the new concept for Torchwood fits that mandate," Starz, LLC, President and CEO Chris Albrecht said. "I've been part of successful partnerships with Jane Tranter and the BBC previously, and I'm very much looking forward to working with them again."
Torchwood is a drama that puts extraterrestrial threats into a very real world, and asks how humanity deals with the danger - while fighting human's darkest instincts. The series was originally commissioned and produced in 2006 by BBC Cymru Wales, with the latest high octane series capturing UK audiences of more than 6 million.
BBC Worldwide has distributed previous Torchwood series around the world to territories such as Korea, Japan, Italy, Spain, Israel, Russia and across Latin America.
I think the time is right for a fan campaign to bring back Lois Habiba in a fairly major role. Who's with me?