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SPP lights Touchpaper for BBC drama: updated

South Pacific Pictures is named a co-production partner for BBC Three-commissioned drama Tatau, to be shot later this year.

BBC Three has commissioned Tatau, an 8×45′ drama series, written by Richard Zajdlic (By Any Means, Strike Back, EastEnders). It will be co-produced by the UK’s Touchpaper TV (Being Human) and South Pacific Pictures in association with BBC America. Zajdlic and Rob Pursey will EP for Touchpaper TV, John Barnett and Chris Bailey for SPP and Matthew Read for the BBC.

The story of the 8×45′ (or 8 commercial hours) drama sees a couple of Londoners “travelling the world looking for sun, fun and adventure” before things start getting a little freaky.

One of the pair gets himself “a Maori-style tattoo”, which turns out to have a lot more significance than expected.

Discussions about Tatau have been in train for quite some time between Touchpaper and SPP, although Barnett credited the recent changes to incentive schemes here as a significant help in getting the project across the line to shoot and do post work here. The show will also shoot on location in the Cook Islands.

“It’s a perfect project for the incentives,” Barnett noted. “We’ve known these people a long time and this is a relationships business.”

Touchpaper is part of the Zodiak group of companies. Former Zodiak Rights MD Jane Millichip worked for SPP in between two stints at Zodiak’s RDF Rights in the mid-noughties.

The show is BBC Three’s first commission since becoming a wholly digital channel following cuts made to BBC budgets. BBC Three Channel Editor Sam Bickley said, “BBC Three has rightfully made a name for itself producing multi-award-winning dramas like In the Flesh, The Fades and Being Human. Tatau very much continues the channel’s tradition for commissioning original, innovative and exciting drama that you would not expect to see anywhere else.”

Filming starts in September. Casting is under way.

For domestic screens, SPP’s winter season of Shortland Street has just commenced. The company wraps shooting on its upcoming Prime show Brokenwood Mysteries this week.

The full BBC release about Tatau is here.

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