Pay-TV platform buys young Shakespeare drama


Virgin TV has snapped up the UK rights to TNT’s young Shakespeare drama Will to bolster its holiday schedule.

The 10 x 60-minute drama will launch to Virgin’s top-tier customers on 28 December, with four episodes released at launch, followed by a weekly episode release.

The programme, which was shot in Wales, was created by Baz Luhrmann collaborator Craig Pearce, whose writing credits include The Great Gatsby, Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge.

It follows a young Shakespeare as he travels from Stratford to London to sell one of his plays to James Burbage’s theatre, all while keeping his Catholicism a secret and falling in love with the theatre-owner’s daughter.

TNT cancelled the in-house drama in September.

Sarah Aubrey, executive vice-president of originals for TNT, recently told Broadcast that the networked planned for the drama “to live on as a standalone on our app and VoD platform”.

“We feel strongly that the 10-episode story is a complete and satisfying one for the audience. While there are no immediate plans to continue it, we’ll proudly profile the show in the TNT family,” she said.

Will marks Virgin Media’s ninth UK launch, and follows Kingdom, Ash vs Evil Dead, Imposters and TNT’s Michelle Dockery-fronted drama Good Behavior.

Last week, the pay-TV platform picked up the UK rights to the first series of gritty Dutch-language drama Chaussée d’Amour.

Virgin Media chief entertainment officer David Bouchier said: “With Craig Pearce leading a fantastic creative team, our customers can enjoy a wild historical drama with plenty of flair that will hook them from the start and make for great viewing after Christmas.”