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The Sixth Commandment and This England Coming to BritBox

Two acclaimed drama series, one based on a confounding criminal case from recent British history, and one focusing on the UK Prime Minister’s tumultuous first few months in office, will take the spotlight when BritBox debuts The Sixth Commandment in North America and This England in the U.S. later this year.

BritBox International today announced the acquisition of the two new highly anticipated titles with star-studded talent, including BAFTA Award-nominee Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner, The Heist at Hatton Garden) and BAFTA and Academy Award winner Kenneth Branagh (Belfast) from Banijay Rights (The Sixth Commandment) and international producer and distributor Fremantle (This England).

Setting the stage for one of the most complex criminal cases in recent memory, BritBox Original The Sixth Commandment, premiering October 4, tells the story of an inspirational teacher, Peter Farquhar (Timothy Spall), and a charismatic young student, Ben Field (Éanna Hardwicke, Normal People), who meet and bond over their love of books and involvement with the Church of England.

The Sixth Commandment and This England Coming to BritBox

However, their friendship soon takes a deadly turn that comes to light after Ben turns his attention to Peter’s deeply religious neighbor, Ann Moore-Martin (Anne Reid, Last Tango in Halifax). The result is a series of stunning revelations, culminating in a high-profile trial.

This series, written by Sarah Phelps (A Very British Scandal, The Pale Horse) and directed by Saul Dibb (The Salisbury Poisonings), is inspired by the critically acclaimed and BAFTA nominated documentary, Catching A Killer: A Diary From The Grave.

The distinguished cast includes Annabel Scholey (The Split, The Salisbury Poisonings), Sheila Hancock (Unforgotten, A Discovery of Witches, Great Canal Journeys), Ben Bailey Smith (The Split, Andor), Conor MacNeill (Industry), Adrian Rawlins (Baptiste, Chernobyl) and Amanda Root (Summerland, Unforgotten). The Sixth Commandment has been made in full cooperation with Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin’s families.

From Passenger & Revolution Films, This England, the 6-part series based on Boris Johnson’s tumultuous first months as UK Prime Minister, will premiere in November and traces the impact on the country of the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Co-written and directed by Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, A Mighty Heart) and from award-winning executive producer Richard Brown (True Detective, Catch-22), the drama takes viewers inside the halls of power, as Johnson (Kenneth Branagh) grapples with Covid-19, Brexit, and a controversial personal and political life.

The events in government are interwoven with stories from around the country, from the experts and scientists racing against time to understand the virus; the doctors, nurses and care-home workers on the frontline working tirelessly and heroically to contain and overcome it; and ordinary people whose lives were thrown into turmoil.

“We are proud to acquire The Sixth Commandment and This England for our line-up of unmissable television, including many other acclaimed BritBox Original acquisitions and co-productions, as the hallmark of quality of British television continues to resonate on a global scale,” said Reemah Sakaan, CEO BritBox International.

“Kenneth Branagh, Timothy Spall and Anne Reid all deliver incredibly powerful performances at the heart of these two gripping dramas, and combined with their world class production pedigree, make both of these series a must-see for quality-seeking fans.”

The Sixth Commandment is a Wild Mercury and True Vision production for the BBC, and is produced by Frances du Pille (The Outlaws, The Watch). It is executive produced by Derek Wax, Sarah Phelps and Saul Dibb for Wild Mercury Productions, Brian Woods for True Vision Productions and Lucy Richer for the BBC.

The Sixth Commandment is being distributed internationally by Banijay Rights and licensed by BritBox International. This England is produced by Emmy Award-winning producer Josh Hyams (I Am…), Anthony Wilcox (On The Road) and Melissa Parmenter (The Road to Guantanamo) and licensed by BritBox International.

Fremantle continues to handle global sales of the series. A Sky Original drama, the series was commissioned for Sky by Zai Bennett, Sky UK’s Managing Director of Content and Gabriel Silver, formerly Senior Commissioning Editor for Sky Studios.

BritBox offers a world class collection of originals, co-productions, and other popular scripted and live programming. On its future slate is Archie, starring Jason Isaacs as Cary Grant, Payback starring Morven Christie and Peter Mullan, from Jed Mercurio, Passenger, from Andrew Buchan, and Three Little Birds, from Sir Lenny Henry.

The company has also announced the upcoming new co-productions Murder is Easy, an Agatha Christie adaptation, and After the Flood, starring Sophie Rundle. These recent announcements add to existing BritBox Original co-productions Beyond Paradise, a spin-off from the popular Death in Paradise, as well as The Confessions of Frannie Langton, based on the award-winning book by Sara Collins.

BritBox International recently announced the acquisition of comedy series Avoidance, starring Romesh Ranganathan, thriller The Ex-Wife, and crime drama Granite Harbour for its North America markets.

Other hit acquisitions premiering on BritBox across North America in the last year have included gripping crime thriller The Tower 2: Death Message, James Graham’s Sherwood starring Lesley Manville and David Morrissey, and mystery series Karen Pirie from author Val McDermid, adapted by Emer Kenny and starring Lauren Lyle, and Irvine Welsh’s Crime, starring Dougray Scott.