Amazon announces slate of UK originals
James R | On 21, May 2022
Amazon Prime Video has announced a new slate of UK originals, bringing its investment in productions – including TV, film and live sport – to more than £1 billion since 2018.
First up is Fifteen-Love, a scripted drama from World Productions (Vigil), part of ITV Studios. Created and written by Hania Elkington (The Innocents) Episodes One-Three of Fifteen-Love are directed by Eva Riley (Perfect 10), and Episodes Four-Six by Toby MacDonald (Extraordinary). It is produced by Natasha Romaniuk (The Suspect) and executive produced by Jake Lushington, World’s head of drama, along with Elkington, Riley, and MacDonald. Fifteen-Love explores the dangerous lines between personal and professional relationships, set amid the cut-and-thrust world of elite tennis. The story examines themes of power, sex, and ambition, within an international sporting industry worth over $2 billion.
Amazon also announced the creation of a new fund designed to support British women’s tennis. Prime Video will work with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to help girls and young women overcome barriers to play, with a focus on three key areas: coaching, equipment, and environment. The fund was generated from the broadcast share of last year’s US Open final.
“When we committed to reinvesting the fees generated from the US Open final, it was important for us to take the time to fully understand the existing barriers that girls and young women face when playing tennis. We need to ensure that we are helping to foster the right environment in which girls can feel empowered to play and learn the sport,” said Alex Green, MD Live Sport, Prime Video Europe. “Our work with the LTA has helped us take huge strides in this area and this fund will directly tackle these barriers later this year.”
Two new true-crime series have also been greenlit. The first, The Disappearance of Patricia Hall from ITN Productions, is the chilling, real-life story of the disappearance of Patricia Hall from a small town in Yorkshire and the subsequent investigation in which her husband, Keith Hall, appeared to admit to her murder, before questions were raised about the reliability of his “confession”. The Disappearance of Patricia Hall (working title) is directed by Sam Hobkinson (Misha and the Wolves), produced by Vivienne Perry (The Changin’ Times of Ike White), and executive producers Nathaniel Lippiett (Secrets of the Krays) and Ian Rumsey (Lost Boy: The Killing of James Bulger).
The second, Three Mothers (working title), is a three-part series from Scottish independent production company Firecrest Films. Set in the wild west days of the infancy of the internet, it tells the gripping real-life story of three women who all found themselves in the middle of an unbelievable series of events that captured the world’s attention. Director Alice McMahon-Major, producer Zehra Yas, and executive producers Nicole Kleeman and Vari Innes bring this powerful story, told through firsthand testimony, along with a wealth of extraordinary archive material spanning two continents and decades.
Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes will see the new England cricket captain discuss the highs and lows of his record-breaking career with Sam Mendes (1917) in a new UK Amazon Original documentary. Produced by Whisper, the film tells the story of Ben’s phenomenal career, examining his World Cup triumph and heroics at the Headingley crease, as well as the lows which saw him take time away from the game and came at a huge personal cost.
“We have supercharged Prime Video’s UK slate with a diverse range of high-quality, distinctive programmes across documentary, drama, comedy, entertainment, and film,” said Dan Grabiner, Head of UK Originals, Amazon Studios. “It’s such a thrill seeing the slate grow in partnership with some of the UK’s most talented creatives, from first-time creators to legends of British television.”
Amazon also announced that actor and Arsenal fan Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) will be the narrator of All or Nothing: Arsenal. Lifelong fan Kaluuya will bring the club’s rich history to life and take viewers on the journey of Arsenal’s roller-coaster 2021/22 season, as they fight to return to European competition.
Today’s announcements build on previous commitments from Prime Video in the UK, including a £10 million investment in skills through its Prime Video Pathway programme and its landmark deal with Pinewood Group to take production facilities at Shepperton Studios.