Culture

Disney+ reveals first scripted UK originals, names award-winning creators to helm projects

Fast rising streaming service Disney+ has announced its first slate of scripted UK originals. Three projects comprise one Disney-branded and two Star-branded originals. The move is part of its commitment to source, develop and produce the productions in Europe. 

BAFTA Award-winning writer Sally Wainwright, along with BAFTA-winning producers Sally Woodward Gentle (Sid Gentle Films), Faith Penhale (Lookout Point) and Stephen Garrett (Character 7), will be joined by screenwriter Emma Moran.

The commissions follow an earlier announcement of unscripted title Save Our Squad, a factual entertainment series that sees sporting icon David Beckham going back to his roots to mentor a struggling young grassroots team. 

These scripted projects increase European Disney+‘s productions to 14, as part of the company’s ambition to create 50 ‘native’ productions in Europe by 2024.  They will be executive produced on behalf of Disney by Johanna Devereaux, Director of Scripted.

Liam Keelan, Vice President Original Content, said: “These three outstanding titles represent exactly where we want to be with our commissioning strategy for Disney and Star – projects of scale, originality and with top talent attached. This is just the beginning of a concerted push to bring the best ideas and storytellers to the service, appealing to audiences both here in the UK and across the globe.”

These scripted projects increase the European Disney+ productions to 14. The company’s goal is to create 50 by 2024…

These new UK original productions are all eight episode freshman seasons.

The Ballad of Renegade Nell, a Disney-branded swashbuckling adventure series set in the 18th century, written by the multi-BAFTA Award-winning writer Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley) and produced by Lookout Point (Gentleman Jack).  

When she’s framed for murder, Nell Jackson is forced into a life of highway robbery, along with her two orphaned sisters Roxanne and George. Aided by a plucky little spirit called Billy Blind, Nell realises that fate has put her on the wrong side of the law for a reason, a reason much bigger than she could’ve ever imagined, a reason that goes right up to Queen Anne and beyond, to the struggle for power raging across the battlefields of Europe. 

Culprits, heading to Star, is a darkly funny heist series from J Blakeson (I Care A Lot). Culprits reveals what happens after a heist, when the crew have gone their separate ways, but are being targeted by a killer one-by-one.  The thriller is created and directed by J Blakeson, executive produced by Stephen Garrett (The Undoing), and produced by Morenike Williams (Killing Eve). Culprits is a Character 7 production.

Extraordinary is a Star Original comedy series from Emma Moran. Described as a celebration of the anti-superhero, it tells the story of Jen, a young, self-aware woman who lives in a world where everyone has a superpower… except her.    

The UK commissions build on the ten previously announced European projects in February 2021, and the global slate confirmed at the Disney Investor Day event in December 2020. 

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