In a European first, ITV1 crime drama The Bill and top, prime time German cop show SOKO Leipzig have combined forces in a joint venture between two Fremantle Media companies; Thames and UFA.
“This has been a fantastic opportunity to combine the skills and talents of the production teams of two highly successful shows. It’s been a really positive adventure pulling the project together, but the success of the idea is testament to the strong working relationships we have developed. We’ve devised two great episodes that neither of us would have been able to do on our own.” – executive producer of The Bill Johnathan Young
The special two-part storyline – titled Proof of Life – has been specifically developed to mark The Bill’s 25th Anniversary year and will air tonight and tomorrow at 8pm on ITV1. The landmark has also been noted with this story to be the first filmed in High Definition. The two hours of drama were recorded in London and in Germany, integrating the skills of both sets of production teams and actors on the project, and using characters from both programmes.
“Both programmes are quite different in style and production, even the formats are different – The Bill is a continuing drama and SOKO Leipzig is a serial – but for the production teams, the experience of working together has exposed us to fresh ideas and new influences and we’re confident that both shows will benefit not just in the short term, but in going forward. It has been a useful challenge and one in which we have all enjoyed taking part.” – executive producer of The Bill Johnathan Young
The storyline for the special revolves around a German girl Charlotte (played by Anna-Maria Mühe) who is kidnapped on British soil, D.C.I. Jack Meadows (Simon Rouse) leads the manhunt with his German counterpart – and godfather of the kidnap victim – Detective Chief Superintendent Hajo Trautzschke (Andreas Schmidt-Schaller) and Sun Hill detectives D.C. Terry Perkins (Bruce Byron), D.C. Mickey Webb (Chris Simmons) and D.C. Kezia Walker (Cat Simmons). The Sun Hill and SOKO Leipzig teams work together across London and Leipzig to break the case.
“For us, the teamwork we have developed with our English-German colleagues has been extremely inspiring, instructive and fun. We see this project as a real milestone on our way to a broader vision for European programming” commented SOKO Leipzig’s Executive Producer, Jorg Winger.