Russian TV station to air BBC drama McMafia

The James Norton Russian mob series was previously criticised by the country's UK embassy for spreading "clichés"

McMafia, BBC Pictures, SL

The BBC and AMC have sold Russian mob drama McMafia to Russia itself. And that’s after the country’s UK embassy criticised the show for depicting “Britain as a playground for Russian gangsters”, claiming the BBC was spreading “clichés”.

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However, according to Variety, the drama will air on the country’s free-TV channel Pyatnitsa! (which translates as Friday!). The channel already broadcasts the likes of Sherlock and factual shows Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II.

“I’ve been a big fan of the BBC for almost 20 years,” said Nikolay Kartozia, general director of Friday. “Their news, documentaries and dramas are all of the highest quality, so now it is a great honor that BBC Studios has selected Friday as a partner. It means that we are going the right way.”

Salim Mukaddam, BBC Studios’ general manager for Central and Eastern Europe, added: “We hope this is the beginning of a long and successful partnership between Friday and BBC Studios.”

The eight-part show follows James Norton’s Alex Goodman, the son of Russian exiles who is plunged into a global mafia network. The series also stars Juliet Rylance as Rebecca Harper, Alex’s fiancée and Bourne star David Strathairn, who plays Israeli businessman Semiyon Kleiman.

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The BBC is yet to announce if the AMC co-production will receive a second series.