It has been announced that Sky Atlantic has agreed to co-produce Penny Dreadful with the American broadcaster Showtime. Penny Dreadful will be the first co-production between Sky Atlantic and Showtime. The series will be produced by Neal Street Productions and is from Skyfall duo Sam Mendes and John Logan.
The term Penny Dreadful originates from the 19th century and was the term for a type of popular fiction published during the Victorian era. The ‘penny dreadfuls’ were typically enjoyed by the working classes and contained ‘lurid’ but popular stories – in some ways the serialised format of the novels were an early form of soap opera. The novels were a penny to buy, hence the term, with storylines spread over multiple editions.
The drama will tell “origin” stories for popular gothic horror characters such as Dracula, Dorian Grey and Frankenstein’s Monster. Filming on Penny Dreadful will begin shortly will an air date of early 2014. The cast of the drama is rather impressive with James Bond actors Timothy Dalton, Eva Green and Rory Kinnear leading a cast that also include Billie Piper, Harry Treadaway, Josh Hartnett and Reeve Carney.
The co-production is part of BSkB’s plan to increase original drama output through co-production deals. The forthcoming drama The Tunnel – an ‘adaptation’ of the Scandinavian drama The Bridge – is being co-produced with French broadcaster Canal +.