Lingo Pictures’ ‘The Secrets She Keeps’ sets a BBC milestone

Michael Dorman and Jessica de Gouw in ‘The Secrets She Keeps.’

When Lingo Pictures’ The Secrets She Keeps premieres on BBC1 at 9pm on July 6, it will mark a milestone as the first Australian-produced TV drama to screen in primetime on the BBC’s flagship channel – at least in recent memory.

The BBC acquired the UK rights to the psychological thriller commissioned by Network 10, starring Laura Carmichael, Jessica de Gouw, Michael Dorman and Ryan Corr, in February but did not disclose the channel or timeslot.

According to Screen Australia’s records, the only other Australian drama to air on primetime on BBC1 was The Cry, a UK co-production.

Five Bedrooms and A Place to Call Home screened during the daytime on the channel. Picnic At Hanging Rock was on BBC2, Romper Stomper on BBC3 and Mystery Road, Safe Harbour and The Slap on BBC4.

Delighted with the prestige slot, Lingo Pictures’ Helen Bowden tells IF: “I hope this will be the beginning of a lot of Australian shows screening in primetime on the UK. There are a lot of amazing shows being made.”

Sarah Walker and Jono Gavin adapted the six-part series from the Michael Robotham novel, produced by Bowden and Paul Watters, with funding from Screen Australia and Screen NSW.

Catherine Millar directed four episodes and Jennifer Leacey helmed two. Bowden and Robotham are discussing ideas for a second series with 10.

DCD Rights sold the show to a host of markets including Sundance Now in the US, France’s Mediawan, Germany’s RTL Crime, Television New Zealand, DirecTV for Latin America, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Russia, CIS, the Baltics and Israel.

Meanwhile a second season of Lingo Pictures/Foxtel’s Upright is being developed by the creator Chris Taylor, Tim Minchin, Niki Aken, Leon Ford and Lingo Pictures’ Jason Stephens.

Based on an original idea by Taylor, it’s set in Far North Queensland and would reunite Minchin’s Lucky with Milly Alcock’s Meg.

Also in the pipeline at Lingo is The Messenger, a drama based on a 2002 novel by Markus Zusak (The Book Thief) about a a young, directionless man whose life is turned upside down when he receives in the mail a playing card inscribed with cryptic messages.

Zusak is serving as a consultant in the writers’ room with Sarah Lambert, Kirsty Fisher and Leon Ford. Screen Australia is funding development.