New series of Death in Paradise and Luther have been promised by BBC head of drama Ben Stephenson as part of his strategy to invigorate BBC1’s drama roster – though he said no decision had been made on new series of Young James Herriot and Garrow’s Law. The jury’s still out, as it were.
As well as a raft of new series, serials and single films, the detective shows – starring Ben Miller and Idris Elba respectively – demonstrate the range of the drama on offer on what Stephenson described as “the most exciting channel to work on” at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch.
Citing the success of Luther and of Sherlock, Stephenson said: “Audiences are drawn to conflicted characters” and said that Luther would return for four episodes next year – but he wouldn’t be drawn on the future of Sherlock before Sunday’s finale.
But the demands on leading man Benedict Cumberbatch – he is currently filming The Hobbit and will play the villain in the next Star Trek movie – may mean a new series, if there is one, won’t begin filming until next year.
Describing Death in Paradise as “old-fashioned fun with a modern slant”, Stephenson also announced that Denis Lawson would replace James Bolam in BBC1’s ratings juggernaut New Tricks.
Jimmy McGovern’s Accused also returns – for four episodes with stars including Rev’s Olivia Colman, Sheridan Smith, Anna Maxwell Martin, comedian John Bishop and Sean Bean, who will play a transsexual.
The focus on BBC1 drama also came with the admission that the commitment to drama on BBC3 would be downgraded, with either Being Human or Lip Service axed after their next series or no recommission for The Fades.