Fox to develop US remakes of BBC’s Silent Witness and This Country

The American broadcaster has announced it is remaking two popular BBC series - crime drama Silent Witness and comedy mockumentary This Country

Silent Witness

US TV network Fox is developing remakes of two popular BBC series – Silent Witness and This Country – for an American audience. Oscar-winning actor Melissa Leo and Ghostbusters director Paul Feig are already attached to the projects.

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Leo will star in an hour-long episode of Silent Witness, serving also as its executive producer alongside Outlander writer Joy Blake.

A long-running crime drama, Silent Witness follows a team of forensic pathology experts and has aired for 22 series on BBC One, starting in 1996.

Created by Nigel McCrery, it has seen its lead characters change over the years, with Emilia Fox, David Caves, Liz Carr and Richard Lintern fronting the current iteration. It has already announced its 23rd series, which will broadcast in 2020.

It is not yet clear whether Leo (most recognisable for her roles in The Fighter and Homicide: Life on the Street) will play a new version of an existing character in the series, or a new character entirely.

Feig, meanwhile, will be involved in a pilot of This Country, working with former Sex and the City writer and producer Jenny Bicks.

A comedy mockumentary focusing on two young misfit cousins living in The Cotswolds, This Country first aired online on BBC Three in 2017. Critically-acclaimed, the comedy series was created by real-life siblings Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper, who also play leads.

Given This Country’s idiosyncratically British depiction of rural life, it remains to be seen how this will be translated for an American audience.

According to Deadline, Fox’s remake will follow a documentary crew who travel to a small town to study its young adults. Lead characters will still be two cousins, in this version, named Kelly and Shrub Mallet.

While neither series is guaranteed to lead to a full series, the news represents a solid commitment by Fox to try and bring some British TV magic across the Atlantic.

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Silent Witness and This Country will return to the BBC in 2020