ARTE France is the latest broadcaster to sign a coproduction deal with BBC Worldwide for Spies of Warsaw (2 x 90’), a two part historical spy drama adapted by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais from Alan Furst’s acclaimed novels.

David Tennant (Doctor Who, Hamlet, Casanova, Fright Night) has been confirmed as the lead in this exciting new production. David will play Mercier and star alongside Janet Montgomery (Black Swan, Merlin) in the role of Anna. The impressive supporting cast includes Ann Eleonora Jørgensen (The Killing), Anton Lesser (The Hour), Burn Gorman (Torchwood, Lark Rise to Candleford), Tuppence Middleton (New Tricks, Sinbad) and Julian Harries (EastEnders) amongst many others.

ARTE is the second broadcaster to invest in the ambitious new drama from Fresh Pictures. It was confirmed last month that Poland’s national broadcaster, TVP (Polish Television), would also be a co-producer on the BBC Four commissioned miniseries.

This is the second drama co-production between BBC Worldwide and ARTE France. Last year BBC Worldwide announced that the digital channel had invested in Sir Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Parade’s End.

Judith Louis, Director of Fiction at ARTE France said: “Our collaboration on this historical, entertaining and elegant espionage series further illustrates how ARTE France and BBC Worldwide share the same vision when it comes to drama.”

Ben Donald, Executive Producer for International Drama at BBC Worldwide, said: “We have big ambitions for Spies of Warsaw and for making it the beginning of a run of adaptations of Alan Furst’s novels and it is fantastic to have ARTE on board at the start. With the story taking place in Poland, France and Germany the adaptation offers some really interesting casting opportunities.

“Along withParade’s End we now have two major collaborations with ARTE France and definitely aspire to develop this partnership further with more ambitious dramas.”

Richard Fell, Executive Producer and Head of Drama, Fresh Pictures, commented on the cast: “We are thrilled and delighted that David and Janet are going to be in Spies of Warsaw. They are both actors of such great range and quality they will light up the screen as the star crossed lovers Jean Francois and Anna.”

The two 90-minute film adaptations of Furst’s acclaimed novels will bring a combination of historically located, intelligent narratives, interlaced with flawed, romantic and utterly compelling characters. Furst, widely recognised as the current master of the historical spy novel, evokes a Europe stumbling into a Second World War, his taut and richly atmospheric thrillers grace the bestseller lists right around the globe. They have been described as “Casablanca meets John le Carre”. Coky Giedroyc, whose previous credits include Sherlock and The Hour, will direct with filming beginning in Poland next month.

Spies of Warsaw, executive produced by Richard Fell, is Fresh Pictures first drama commission.

The deal with TVP was brokered by BBC Worldwide and Apple Film Production in Poland. Apple Film Production, led by Dariusz Jabłoński , will act as the Polish co-producer on the series for TVP.

Spies of Warsaw is a Fresh Pictures production co produced by Apple Film Production for BBC Four and TVP in association with ARTE France and BBC Worldwide.

Source: BBC Media Centre, April 2012