“There have been a lot of thrillers that feel global, but there is an appetite for something more domestic”
Distributor BBC Worldwide
Producer Sister Pictures
Length 6 x 60 minutes
Broadcaster BBC1 (UK)
Sister Pictures broke its duck with The Split, after founder Jane Featherstone was approached by long-time collaborator Abi Morgan soon after the indie launched in 2015.
“Abi came to me at the inception of Sister Pictures with an idea which I loved,” Featherstone tells Broadcast. “It was very female-centric and a relationship drama.”
Morgan, who had worked with the former Kudos chief executive on BBC1’s River and BBC2’s The Hour, came up with the idea after chatting with a female divorce lawyer at her children’s school gates.
She decided that London’s cut-throat divorce industry would be an interesting way to explore the nature of modern relationships, marriage and family.
The 6 x 60-minute drama, which is being co-produced with US cable network Sundance TV, stars Last Tango In Halifax and River’s Nicola Walker as Hannah Defoe, supported by her two sisters Nina (Annabel Scholey) and Rose (Fiona Button), as the trio tackle difficult cases and tricky relationships in the wake of the return of their estranged father.
“There have been a lot of thrillers recently, a lot of dark pieces that feel global, which is great, but I think there is an appetite for something a little more grounded and domestic and relationship-driven,” says Featherstone. “It offers a portrait of London that is quite aspirational, with access to some beautiful worlds, so I hope all these things will make it appeal.”
BBC Worldwide president of global markets Paul Dempsey expects the series to benefit from the current trend for “relationship dramas” that have made the likes of Drama Republic’s Doctor Foster such international successes.
“The Split is very relationship-driven and with such great talent behind it, is garnering a lot of interest ahead of its UK TX,” he says.
Featherstone believes BBC Worldwide will have success selling the series to France, Germany, Scandinavia and Australia, following its launch on BBC1 in April.