Wednesday 8 July 2020
UKTV continues to invest in original drama for its specialist crime drama channel, Alibi with the commission of six-part series The Diplomat (6x60'), set around the British Consul in Barcelona. Written by Ben Richards (Spooks, Cobra, The Tunnel), the series is produced by World Productions (Bodyguard, Line of Duty) for Alibi and BBC Studios Distribution.
The Diplomat follows Laura Simmonds and her Barcelona Consul colleague and friend Alba Ortiz as they fight to protect British nationals who find themselves in trouble in the Catalan city. Mixing the roles of lawyer, counsellor and cop, Laura and Alba's diplomatic skills are stretched to the limit by the stream of cases that walk through the Consul's doors.
Writer and creator Ben Richards said
I'm delighted to be working with UKTV on The Diplomat - a show that I think will suit their obvious ambition for innovative and exciting new drama. In The Diplomat I wanted to show a character who both loves her job and - supported by a team of funny and engaging characters - performs it beyond the call of duty. From helping Britons in distress to challenging the shady operations of international mafias, Laura Simmonds (British Consul in Barcelona) has to deal with it all.
The series opens on the unexplained death of a young British barman working around Barcelona's notorious marina. While Laura supports the boy's angry father, neither the Spanish police nor the Foreign Office are keen to pursue a murder enquiry. As Laura and Alba uncover the events surrounding the barman's death, they discover links not only to organised crime, but also to the British security services. Laura's quest for justice places her in real jeopardy, as she threatens to expose secrets that the British and Spanish will go to any lengths to keep hidden.
UKTV Original series The Diplomat has been commissioned by drama commissioner Philippa Collie Cousins with head of scripted Pete Thornton. The series is ordered by Alibi channel director Emma Ayech. Richard Watsham is director of commissioning for UKTV and Adrian Wills is genre general manager for drama and lifestyle. World Productions' Simon Heath (Line of Duty, Save Me) will executive produce. Philippa Collie Cousins will executive produce for UKTV alongside BBC Studios director of drama Martin Rakusen.
UKTV drama commissioner Philippa Collie Cousins said
Laura and Alba are contrasting professional working women dealing with murder, abductions and organised crime alongside managing their careers and love lives while avoiding diplomatic hierarchies and maintaining a tight friendship. It is "The Good Wife meets Spooks" for 2021, a feisty workplace drama set in Barcelona with cracking dialogue, abundant crime and a surprising series arc. Television to stay in for by the very talented Ben Richards. I am very excited to work with such an expert lead writer as Ben, but equally excited to add talented up and coming writers to the writing team.
Alibi channel director Emma Ayech added
The Diplomat draws back the curtain on the multi-layered world of a British consul - dealing with everything from a daily stream of distressed British nationals to international crime and political intrigue. Ben Richards has created a sharp, witty script with a warmth and lightness of touch that is perfect for Alibi. This series will add to Alibi's growing slate of fresh and original crime drama.
Simon Heath, executive producer, World Productions said
We're delighted to be working for the first time with Philippa, Emma, the UKTV team and BBC Studios Distribution to bring to the screen Ben Richards' smart and original take on Britain's complicated relationship with Spain's most visited city.
BBC Studios director of drama Martin Rakusen added
I'm thrilled to be collaborating with Simon, Ben and the team at World Productions on such a rich and exciting series. Our UK and international audiences expect us to launch distinctive, talent-led series and I'm excited that Richard, Philippa and I have found exactly that with The Diplomat.
Casting and director will be announced over the coming months, with the series due to air exclusively on Alibi in 2021. Production will start when safely able to do so.
The Diplomat is the third UKTV Original for Alibi, following the hit show Traces from Red Production Company, and We Hunt Together, produced by BBC Studios. BBC Studios is handling distribution internationally.
Notes for Editors:
Sky 132/826, Virgin 126/200, BT 312/382, TalkTalk 312, TV Player
On demand on Sky, Virgin, BT and TalkTalk
Alibi is the only TV channel dedicated to crime drama, investigating the best selection from the genre and premiering hit series from around the world such as Harrow, Waco and I Am The Night. Alibi stepped into UKTV Original crime drama series with guaranteed thrills, twists and turns including last year's hit Traces, starring Molly Windsor and Martin Compston and We Hunt Together, starring Eve Myles and Babou Ceesay.
Now in its 13th series, Murdoch Mysteries has found a safe space on the channel while some of British TV's best-known detectives, including Miss Marple, enjoy a trip down memory lane. Hit British crime dramas including Death in Paradise, Father Brown and Silent Witness give the viewers another chance to catch their favourite shows.
UKTV has been at the forefront of branded television for over 25 years, entertaining the nation with programmes they love. Its leading brands - Dave, Gold, W, Drama, Alibi, Eden and Yesterday - span comedy, entertainment, natural history, factual and drama, and are delivered to audiences through UKTV Play, Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView, Freesat and Amazon Fire. The broadcaster is a significant investor in British creativity and is committed to working with new and established writers, directors and programme-makers.
UKTV is part of BBC Studios, the UK's most-awarded production company, a world-class distributor with international branded services, and a commercial subsidiary of the world's leading public service broadcaster, the BBC.