Award-winning creators and producers Sally Wainwright & Faith Penhale, Stephen Garrett & J Blakeson, and Sally Woodward Gentle & Lee Morris to helm projects out of the UK
The Walt Disney Company EMEA announced its initial slate of scripted UK originals for Disney+, working with outstanding creators and premium producers as part of the company’s commitment to source, develop and produce original productions in Europe.
Three UK productions have been confirmed for Disney+; one Disney-branded and two Star-branded originals that will add a diverse range of new stories and exciting voices to Disney+, alongside the iconic entertainment brands subscribers know and love. Spanning a wide range of genres, commissions include a swashbuckling family adventure, an electrifying heist drama and an innovative comedy series.
BAFTA Award-winning writer Sally Wainwright, along with BAFTA-winning producers Sally Woodward Gentle (Sid Gentle Films), Faith Penhale (Lookout Point) and Stephen Garrett (Character 7), are among the talent whose series will be launched on Disney+. Debut screenwriter Emma Moran brings an innovative Star Original comedy to the service.
These latest commissions follow this week’s earlier announcement of the UK’s first unscripted title Save Our Squad. The factual entertainment series sees sporting icon David Beckham going back to his roots to mentor a struggling young grassroots team. These scripted projects increase the European Disney+ productions to 14, as part of the company’s ambition to create 50 productions in Europe by 2024. They will be executive produced on behalf of Disney by Johanna Devereaux, Director of Scripted.
Liam Keelan, Vice President Original Content, commented: “These three outstanding titles represent exactly where we want to be with our commissioning strategy for Disney and Star – projects of scale, originality and with top talent attached. This is just the beginning of a concerted push to bring the best ideas and storytellers to the service, appealing to audiences both here in the UK and across the globe.”
Johanna Devereaux, Director of Scripted, added: “It is a pleasure and a privilege to be working with these exceptional writers and producers. The Walt Disney Company is deeply committed to supporting diverse, ambitious storytelling from renowned creators and brand new voices, and we are thrilled to welcome Sally, J, Emma, and their outstanding producing teams to Disney+.”
The UK original productions are:
The Ballad of Renegade Nell, a Disney-branded swashbuckling adventure series set in the 18th century, written by the multi-BAFTA Award-winning writer Sally Wainwright (Gentleman Jack, Happy Valley) and produced by Lookout Point (Gentleman Jack, A Suitable Boy). When she's framed for murder, Nell Jackson is forced into a life of highway robbery, along with her two orphaned sisters Roxanne and George. Aided by a plucky little spirit called Billy Blind, Nell realises that fate has put her on the wrong side of the law for a reason, a reason much bigger than she could've ever imagined, a reason that goes right up to Queen Anne and beyond, to the struggle for power raging across the battlefields of Europe. Executive produced by Sally Wainwright, Faith Penhale and Will Johnston from BBC Studios-backed Lookout Point, this will be a stylish, witty and surprising romp from one of the UK’s most acclaimed series creators.
Star Original commission Culprits is a dark and funny heist series from acclaimed film-maker J Blakeson (I Care A Lot, The Disappearance of Alice Creed). Culprits follows what happens aftera heist, when the crew have gone their separate ways, but are being targeted by a killer one-by-one. A whip-smart thriller created and directed by J Blakeson, executive produced by Stephen Garrett (The Undoing; The Night Manager), and produced by Morenike Williams (Killing Eve). Culprits is a Character 7 production.
Extraordinary, a Star Original comedy series from new talent Emma Moran, follows Jen, a young, self-aware woman who lives in a world where everyone has a superpower… except her. From BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy, and Peabody Award-winning production company Sid Gentle Films, this is a fresh, innovative comedy about being young and finding your feet in a confusing world, when all you’ll ever be is ‘ordinary’. Extraordinary is a celebration of the anti-superhero, giving people permission to embrace their general okay-ness. Extraordinary is executive produced by Sally Woodward Gentle, Lee Morris (Killing Eve) and Charles Dawson, and created by Moran, a stand-out debut writer with an utterly distinctive voice.
The UK commissions build on the ten previously announced European projects in February 2021, and the global slate confirmed at the Disney Investor Day event in December 2020.
With more than 100 titles announced at the Investor Day event, Disney+ plans to release approximately 10 Star Wars series and 10 Marvel series, as well as 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar series, as well as 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar features over the next few years. This is in addition to the Star Originals and the thousands of hours of movies and television from Disney’s creative studios, including Disney Television Studios (ABC Signature and 20th Television), FX Productions, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures and more.
Disney+ is the dedicated streaming home for movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, as well as the new general entertainment content brand in select International markets, Star. As part of Disney’s Media and Entertainment Distribution segment, Disney+ is available on most internet-connected devices and offers commercial-free programming with a variety of original feature-length films, documentaries, live-action and animated series, and short-form content. Alongside unprecedented access to Disney’s incredible library of film and television entertainment, the service is also the exclusive streaming home for the latest releases from The Walt Disney Studios.
Media Relations Contacts:
Notes to Editors
UK Original commissions announced for Disney+ are:
The Ballad of Renegade Nell (Disney+ Original)
• Fantasy action /adventure. 8 episodes / 45 minutes. Sally Wainwright / Lookout Point
• When Nell Jackson is framed for murder, she’s forced into a life of highway robbery. Aided by a plucky little spirit called Billy Blind, Nell realises that fate has put her on the wrong side of the law for a reason.
Save Our Squad (Disney+ Original)
• Transformational factual entertainment series. 6 episodes / 35 minutes. David Beckham / Twenty Twenty / Studio 99
• David Beckham mentors a struggling young grassroots football side, taking these young players, their coach, and their community on an uplifting, transformative journey of a lifetime.
Culprits (Star Original on Disney+)
• Crime drama. 8 episodes / 45 minutes. J Blakeson / Stephen Garrett / Character 7
• A darkly funny, whip-smart series about the aftermath of a heist. The crew have gone their separate ways but someone is coming after them one by one.
Extraordinary (Star Original on Disney+)
• Comedy. 8 episodes / 25 minutes. Emma Moran / Sid Gentle Films
• Meet Jen. She lives in a world where everyone has a superpower. Everyone except her. Which is just sodding great. This is a fresh, innovative comedy about being young and struggling to find your place in the world when all you’ll ever be is ‘ordinary.’
Previously announced European Commissions for Disney+ are:
Weekend Family (Disney+)
• Family Comedy. 8 episodes / 30 minutes. Baptiste Filleul / Elephant Groupe
• A jubilant comedy that chronicles the life of a new stepfamily that meets up every weekend. But when the father gets into a relationship with a new partner, the weekends take on a whole different turn.
Oussekine (Star Original on Disney+)
• Drama limited-series based on a true story. 4 episodes. Antoine Chevrollier / ItinéraireProductions
• This hard-hitting premium drama series examines the terrible events of December 5, 1986 that led to the death of Malik Oussekine.
• Centered on his family's fight for justice, the series will delve into the 1980s to understand the impact this drama had on French society at the time.
• Fantasy Adventure. 6 episodes / 45 minutes. Quoc Dang Tran / Empreinte Digitale
• A mysterious event propels four teenage friends into parallel dimensions, leaving them racing to return home before their futures are altered forever.
Soprano: Sing or Die (Star Original on Disney+)
• Docu-series. 6 episodes / 50 minutes. Breath Films
• With unique and exclusive access to one of France’s most popular recording artists, this 6-part series will chart the history of Soprano’s success, together with the friends who have been by his side since their humble beginnings in Marseille.
The Good Mothers (Star Original on Disney+)
• Crime Drama based on a true story. 6 episodes / 60 minutes. Stephen Butchard / House Productions and Wildside
• A unique twist on the crime genre: this is the mafia seen entirely from the women’s perspectives.
• The series follows the shocking true story of three women who were born into the most deadly and wealthy of the Italian mafia clans and how they worked with a courageous female prosecutor to bring it down. They must fight their own families for the right to survive and build a new future for their children.
Boris (Star Original on Disney+)
• Comedy. 6 episodes / 30 minutes. Giacomo Ciarrapico , Luca Vendruscolo / The Apartment, a Fremantle Company
• A hilarious show-within-a-show format, the early seasons of Boris followed the behind-the-scenes world of a low-budget medical drama series.
• The new season reunites the original crew. They soon discover the world of television has changed; social media, influencers and various streaming platforms dictate the law, how will our protagonists face in this new world?
The Ignorant Angels (Star Original on Disney+)
• Romantic Drama. 8 episodes / 50 minutes. Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli, / R&C Productions
• When Antonia's husband Massimo is killed in a car accident, she discovers that he has been having a same-sex affair with a man named Michele. She’s devastated at the news, but the straight-laced Antonia finds herself building an unexpected and moving friendship with Michele and his circle of misfit eccentrics.
Sultan City (Star Original on Disney+)
• Dark Comedy Crime Thriller. 8 episodes. Ayla Gottschlich and Aysel Yilmaz / Two Moons Pictures
• When the patriarch of a respectable German-Turkish family vanishes, his widow’s comfortable life is turned upside down. Upon learning that her husband was secretly the head of a criminal network, she is drawn into a dangerous underworld, only to find that she - and her daughters - have a talent for the business.
Sam - A Saxon (Star Original on Disney+)
• True Story Drama. 6 episodes. Jörg Winger / Big Window Productions
• Based on the true-life story of Samuel Meffire, East-Germany’s first black police officer, who became a media sensation and a symbol of modern society in the post-reunification 1990s. Just a few years later, he ended up behind bars himself, as an enemy of the state.
Feyenoord Rotterdam (Star Original on Disney+)
• Sports Doc Series. 8 episodes. Lusus Media
• Feyenoord is one of the most beloved clubs in The Netherlands. A working-class club with a history both filled with melancholy and pride. What will this season bring?
• Loved and followed by millions in The Netherlands, the inner workings of their football club is a very closed and secretive world. Never before has a Dutch club opened up their doors and allowed full and unlimited access. Until now.