Friday 15 February 2019
UKTV has commissioned its first Original scripted drama for leading crime drama channel, Alibi.
The six-part series, Traces (6x60'), is written by Amelia Bullmore (Scott & Bailey, This Life) and produced by RED Production Company (Safe, Butterfly, Happy Valley), for UKTV and BBC Studios Distribution.
Traces is based on an original idea by best-selling crime writer Val McDermid.
UKTV Original Traces is a suspense-filled crime thriller told from a fresh point of view, where forensic science takes centre stage. Set in Scotland and exploring the world of SIFA, the Scottish Institute of Forensic Science, Traces introduces us to three compelling and very different female characters - Emma Hedges, Prof. Sarah Gordon and Prof. Kathy Torrance - who together will use the rigors of forensics to uncover the truth about an unsolved murder case.
When 23-year-old Emma Hedges returns to Scotland to take up a new position as a lab assistant at SIFA, she signs up to a MOOC - Massive Online Open Course - which teaches the principles of forensic science. But she soon discovers that the fictitious case study has a strikingly similar and shocking link to her past. As Emma's sleuthing takes her into darker corners and unpicks more and more secrets, it becomes clear that she should trust no-one. It will be Sarah and Kathy's exacting minds that reward Emma's faith in the science that has fuelled her imagination and who will ultimately bring a killer to justice.
Running alongside Emma's central story, other cases and different forensic disciplines will shine a spotlight on science's contribution to solving the mysteries of human existence.
UKTV drama commissioner Philippa Collie Cousins said:
When the idea came over from RED it genuinely made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The fantastic writing talent in Amelia Bullmore coupled with Nicola Shindler and the team at RED will make Alibi's first ever drama commission something really quite special. With strong female characters this is Happy Valley meets Silent Witness, a dark and exciting show that I can't wait for us to get cracking on.
Alibi channel director Emma Ayech added: "Alibi has an incredibly engaged audience of passionate crime drama fans. It's the perfect opportunity to grow our slate of scripted shows and give our viewers a brand-new UKTV Original series that we hope they will love."
Nicola Shindler, founder and executive producer of RED Production Company, said:
"I am really excited to be working with UKTV bringing Amelia's compelling and original scripts to life. From the brilliant mind of Val McDermid this is a mystery I want the Alibi audience to find totally addictive."
Liam Keelan, BBC Studios Scripted Portfolio Director, said:
Traces is exactly the type of captivating British crime thriller that we like to offer audiences internationally. It's fresh and suspenseful, with a brilliant writing and production talent behind it. We are thrilled to be involved in this ground-breaking commission for UKTV - hopefully the first of many more projects to come. It's great to be working with Nicola Shindler, and the team at RED again.
Casting will be announced over the coming months, with the series due to air exclusively on Alibi in late 2019.
UKTV Original series Traces has been commissioned by Philippa Collie Cousins with head of scripted Pete Thornton, and ordered by Richard Watsham, director of commissioning with Adrian Wills, general manager, Drama and Lifestyle.
The series will be produced by RED Production Company (a STUDIOCANAL company) and executive produced by Nicola Shindler (Safe, Butterfly, Happy Valley, Queer As Folk), Philippa Collie Cousins for UKTV and Liam Keelan for BBC Studios.
Traces joins UKTV's growing slate of scripted dramas including W's Women on the Verge, co-written by Sharon Horgan and Lorna Martin, and the Anna Paquin-fronted Flack.
In 2018, UKTV Originals topped the ratings on six of UKTV's channels (Dave, W, Gold, Drama, Yesterday and Really - and on UKTV Play).
BBC Studios is handling distribution internationally.
About Val McDermid
Val comes from Kirkcaldy, Fife, and read English at St Hilda's College, Oxford (where she is now an Honorary Fellow). She was the first ever student from a state school in Scotland. Following graduation she became a journalist, and worked briefly as a dramatist.
Her first success as a novelist came with Report for Murder The first Lindsay Gordon Mystery, first published in 1987.
Among her many awards are the Portico Prize for Fiction, the LA Times Book Prize, the Lambda Literary Pioneer Award and the Cartier Diamond Dagger. She has published 27 novels, short stories, non-fiction and a prize-winning children's book. She is a regular broadcaster for BBC radio and lives in Edinburgh
UKTV is a commercial broadcaster reaching nearly 40m viewers every month.
The award-winning independent has eleven imaginative brands - UKTV Play, Dave, W, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home, Eden and Good Food. These include the two most popular non-PSB channels in the UK and account for nearly 10% of the British commercial TV market.
The network delivers inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView, Freesat, Amazon Fire and UKTV Play, and distributes its highly valued original programmes to 200 territories.
Now celebrating over 20 years at the forefront of digital television, UKTV - an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Studios and Discovery, Inc. - is proud to be the first British television broadcaster in The Sunday Times top 100 companies list.
About RED Production Company
RED Production Company was set up by Nicola Shindler in 1998 to work with the best writers on modern, innovative and entertaining programming. The Manchester-based indie has since produced some of the UK's most popular drama series working with critically acclaimed writers including Russell T Davies, Bill Gallagher, Sally Wainwright, Danny Brocklehurst, Dan Sefton and Sean Conway.
RED Production Company has produced some of the UK's most successful and award-winning dramas, including Russell T Davies' Cucumber and Queer As Folk, Sally Wainwright's Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax, Danny Brocklehurst's Come Home and Ordinary Lies, Lenny Henry's Danny and the Human Zoo, Dan Sefton's Trust Me, Tony Marchant's Butterfly and Harlan Coben's Safe written by Danny Brocklehurst. Forthcoming series include Russell T Davies' Years and Years for BBC One and The Boys for Channel 4, and Harlan Coben's The Stranger written by Danny Brocklehurst for Netflix.
RED Production Company is part of STUDIOCANAL's international production network, which includes TANDEM Productions in Germany and SAM in Scandinavia.
About BBC Studios
BBC Studios, a global content company with British creativity at its heart, is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group. Formed in April 2018 by the merger of BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios, it spans content financing, development, production, sales, branded services and ancillaries.
BBC Studios' award-winning British programmes are internationally recognised across a broad range of genres and specialisms. It has offices in 22 markets globally, including seven production bases in the UK and production bases and partnerships in a further nine countries around the world.
The company, which makes 2500 hours of content a year, is a champion for British creativity around the world and a committed partner for the UK's independent sector. BBC Studios has revenue of £1.4bn, and returns around £200m to the BBC Group annually, complementing the BBC's licence fee and enhancing programmes for UK audiences.