After ITV Studios put hit BBC police corruption drama Line Of Duty on sale, Netflix has struck a deal with producer World Productions to restore the show in a number of significant international territories.
Earlier Netflix removed the hit British crime drama in April after rights talks broke down following the messy collapse of production empire Kew Media Group and its distribution arm Kew Media Distribution earlier this year.
Netflix made Kew Media administrator FTI Consulting a financial offer to maintain its licenses to Line Of Duty and other Kew Media Distribution-sold shows, insisting payment be passed on to the producers but FTI Consulting rejected this offer and later sold Kew Media Distribution’s library to Quiver Entertainment last month. Now, Netflix has gone direct to World Productions and cut a deal.
The drama is currently being rolled back out on Netflix across Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Seasons 1-4 will also be restored in the UK, though the full catalog is currently available on BBC iPlayer. BritBox and Acorn TV hold the U.S. rights.
The news was reported by Deadline which revealed that ITV Studios has secured the rights to sell Season 6 of Line Of Duty internationally. The producer-distributor, which owns World Productions, would like to represent all six seasons of the show, but would not comment on how it intends to make this happen.
Series five of Line Of Duty was one of the BBC’s biggest shows of 2019 after its finale gripped 12M viewers. As well as returning cast Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar, Season 6 features Trainspotting star Kelly McDonald as a detective who piques the interest of anti-corruption unit AC12.
Season 6 was in production until the coronavirus pandemic shutdown British film and TV shoots in March.
Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio told the BBC last month that getting the show back into production is not going to be straightforward amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “I want to get back as soon as we can, but that’s got to be when it’s safe,” he told The Andrew Marr Show. “To be honest with you there’s a lot we can do within the industry, but until wider society has the public health infrastructure of test, trace and isolate in place it’s going to be very hard for anyone… I just don’t think, unless wider society has got the process right, we’ll be able to work in isolation.”
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