BBC Four has acquired the rights to Flemish TV-series Salamander for its Saturday Night programme, traditionally the slot welcoming prestigious foreign productions such as The Killing and Borgen. The twelve-part political thriller, sold internationally by Beta Films, is also set for a North American remake.
BBC’s Head of Programme Acquisition describes Salamander as a perfect match. ‘Salamander is a gripping, edge-of-the-seat thriller. It will make a fantastic addition to our Saturday Nights on BBC Four.’ Also Oliver Bachert, SVP International Sales and Acquisitions at Beta Films, is convinced of the series’ potential. ‘Salamander is an excellent example for top-of-the-line serialized storytelling made in Europe. We are absolutely convinced that the series will thrill audiences in the UK the same way as it did on the continent.’
Salamander, a production of Skyline Entertainment, sees Filip Peeters, Koen De Bouw and Jo De Meyere as part of the central cast. After its release on Flanders’ public broadcasting channel één, the series became an instant hit and kept attracting viewers week after week. In its home territory, over 1.85 million people watched the series’ finale.
Taking off with sixty-six safes that are being robbed during a spectacular raid on a small private bank in Brussels, Salamander digs deeper into the web of intrigues that sprouts from the heist. The owners of the safes form a select club of powerful people in Belgium, all holding high-level positions. Only their safes were hit, and while the perpetrators took no money, they did take documents. Pandora’s box has been opened and when a stubborn police officer starts investigating the case, he soon finds he has to run for his life.
Screenwriter Ward Hulselmans (Silent Waters, Witse) scripted the series; a sequel to the first season is already in the making. Director is Frank Van Mechelen (Hell in Tangier, Germaine). Salamander was made possible with the support of public broadcaster VRT, the VAF/Media Fund of Flemish Minister of Media Ingrid Lieten and the Belgian Tax Shelter. Next to BBC, the series has already been sold to RTBF too. Beta Films is also in the middle of various negotiations with different countries. Skyline Entertainment is also set for an English remake of the series, in coproduction with Cite Amerique (Canada) and the British Artist Studio, which coproduced BBC’s The Fall directed by Flemish director Jakob Verbruggen.