‘Wakefield’ sells to Showtime

Rudi Dharmalingam plays Nik in 'Wakefield'.

Yet another Jungle Entertainment series is headed Stateside – this time drama Wakefield, with Showtime snapping up the US rights.

It’s the second Australian acquisition by the ViacomCBS-owned premium network of late, having also picked up See-Saw Films’ The End last September.

Created by Kristen Dunphy and originally commissioned by the ABC, Wakefield explores the fine line between sanity and madness through the perspectives of staff and patients at a psychiatric facility.

The cast is lead by Brit Rudi Dharmalingham, a gifted nurse, who is the sanest person in what is a pretty crazy place. But when a song gets stuck in his head, a dark secret from his past begins to intrude into his present.

The ensemble also includes Mandy McElhinney, Geraldine Hakewill, Harriet Dyer, Ryan Corr, Sam Simmons and Felicity Ward.

Sam Meikle is a showrunner with Dunphy, and both wrote alongside Joan Sauers and Cathy Strickland. Series producers are Shay Spencer and Ally Henville, and directors Jocelyn Moorhouse and Kim Mordaunt.

Wakefield, produced in partnership with BBC Studios, who distributes globally, will bow on Showtime October 18.

Jungle Entertainment CEO and executive producer Jason Burrows said that from the early days of development, they had talked about Showtime being a natural home for the series.

“We were very excited when we heard that they loved it. We’re really proud of it and it’s so great to see more and more Australian content being seen on the best platforms around the world.”

Dunphy is similarly excited to see the series travel.

“The challenge was to tackle the really personal and difficult subject of mental health and make an entertaining series.

“To see it resonate so well with Australian audiences is fantastic – and Americans are at least as mad as us – so I’m thrilled Showtime is bringing it to the US. I hope this helps to reassure people that none of us are completely sane and it’s okay not to be okay. “

Jungle Entertainment has found significant US success in recent years, including the CBS All Access adaptation of No Activity, now up to its fourth season; the Fox remake of A Moody Christmas, now in its second, and the FX-commissioned Mr Inbetween, which just aired its third and final season. Sundance Now also acquired Bad Mothers, which it produced with Filthy Productions, while Hulu snapped up the original A Moody Christmas. The production company is also in active development on US versions of ABC comedy Squinters and Bad Mothers.

European audiences will also be treated to Wakefield soon, with the series to screen in competition at the prestigious French television festival Series Mania in late August, against fellow Aussie series, The Unusual Suspects from Aquarius Films.