LONDON and LOS ANGELES — BritBox UK, the streaming service created by ITV and the BBC, and Spectrum Originals, the premier U.S. destination for Spectrum video subscribers, will globally debut A Spy Among Friends, a limited series based on the New York Times best-selling book written by Ben Macintyre. In collaboration with Sony Pictures Television, ITV Studios and Veritas Entertainment Group, the limited series produced in the UK stars Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-winning actor, Damian Lewis (Homeland, Billions) and Emmy® Award-winner, Guy Pearce (Jack Irish, Mare of Easttown). Lewis will also serve as executive producer through his production company, Ginger Biscuit Entertainment. The series has begun production in London this week and also will shoot in Romania.
From Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning British writer Alexander Cary, producing alongside ITV Studios’ BAFTA award-winner Patrick Spence (Adult Material, Fortitude), the six-episode limited series will have a worldwide premiere airing exclusively on BritBox in the UK and Spectrum’s On Demand platform in the U.S. in the fall of 2022.*
“How could I resist the opportunity to dramatize the true story of Nicholas Elliott (Damian Lewis) and Kim Philby (Guy Pearce) — two spies and lifelong friends, one of whom was betraying the other all along?” said Cary. “A friendship that resulted in the gutting of British and American intelligence at the height of the Cold War and shaped the field of play for the dangerous game against Russia that we're still trying to win today. Macintyre’s books about spies from recent history are relevant and exciting because they examine the larger universal themes of human behavior that drive individuals among us, and like us, to excel in the murky world of espionage and, for better or worse, leave a lasting impact on the world.”
Additional cast includes Anna Maxwell Martin (Motherland, Line of Duty), Stephen Kunken (Billions, The Handmaid’s Tale) and Adrian Edmondson (Back to Life, The Pact).
Alexander Cary serves as creator and executive producer along with Patrick Spence, Nick Murphy and Damian Lewis’ Ginger Biscuit Entertainment. The limited series is directed by BAFTA award-winner Nick Murphy (Save Me, A Christmas Carol) and produced by BAFTA award-winner Chrissy Skinns (Elizabeth is Missing, The Last Kingdom). Bob Bookman, Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen are executive producers for Veritas Entertainment Group.
Will Harrison, BritBox UK Managing Director said: “We’ve sought out the highest calibre writing, acting, directorial and production talent to create exceptional original British programming for BritBox. A Spy Among Friends is the epitome of this and will provide a new and thrilling, must-watch show for subscribers.”
“I’m incredibly excited about collaborating with BritBox UK and ITV Studios along with our partners at Sony on this project,” said Katherine Pope, Head of Spectrum Originals. “This emotional thriller examines espionage through a deeply personal lens, and we are lucky enough to be in the hands of the brilliant Alex Cary, Nick Murphy, Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce whose dedication will yield a distinctly special series.”
“Alex and I have worked together over the years so I was thrilled when we finally got him to join the Sony family,” said Lauren Stein, EVP Drama Development, Sony Pictures Television. "A Spy Among Friends was the first project he brought us and with the combination of Alex’s creative vision and the talent of Damian and Guy, we immediately knew this was a dream project. I couldn’t be more excited to be working on something so special.”
“I’m excited to be producing and starring in A Spy Among Friends. These fabulous scripts by Alex Cary take an up-close look at friendship – a friendship that was blinded by love, class, and membership to the right clubs, and ended in betrayal and the deaths of thousands,” said Lewis. “It’s been a fantastic creative process developing ‘Spy’ and now I can’t wait to start filming with Guy and all the other brilliant actors who’ve happily agreed to join us.”
"It’s an honor to be a part of this thrilling project,” said Pearce. “I’ve always been fascinated by the intriguing MI6 history and getting to go on this journey with Damian makes it all the more brilliant. I’m also very happy to be working again with the wonderful and talented Nick Murphy."
“From the moment I finished reading Ben Macintyre’s manuscript of A Spy Among Friends, I knew there was a stellar television event to be produced from it,” said Bob Bookman. “My partners and I at Veritas feel honored to be collaborating with Alex Cary, Nick Murphy, and our dream cast to make this passion project become a reality.”
“Alex, Damian, Guy, Nick and Chrissy - every producer dreams of bringing together a team as good as this. Bring it on,” added Patrick Spence, ITV Studios.
Kevin Lygo, BritBox Originals Creative Chief and ITV’s Director of TV concluded, “A Spy Among Friends is a brand-defining original commission starring world class British talent. We are really looking forward to sharing it with our subscribers.”
*subject to production timelines
About BritBox UK
BritBox is a digital video subscription service created by the BBC and ITV. The service brings the very best in past, present and future British programming and award-winning content to viewers all in one place for £5.99 per month in HD. British TV boxsets from All 4 and British films from Film 4 are also available. The service includes high quality factual and entertainment content from Channel 5 plus original British comedies from Comedy Central UK. BritBox features the biggest collection of British content available on any streaming service, and brand new commissions for British production companies specifically created for BritBox. BritBox also offers expert curation and playlists that will enable viewers to easily find programmes they know and discover new favourites via web, mobile, tablet, connected TVs and streaming devices including Fire TV, Apple TV, Freesat & Chromecast. Content on BritBox can be downloaded and viewed offline where rights allow.
About Spectrum Originals
Spectrum Originals is a premier destination for premium original series available exclusively to Spectrum video subscribers on-demand and ad-free. An initiative of Charter Communications, the service launched in 2019 with the Sony and Bruckheimer-produced drama “L.A.’s Finest,” starring Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba. Currently in production are the Paramount Television Studios produced dramas “Joe Pickett” led by famed filmmakers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle and “Long Slow Exhale” a mystery drama set in the high-stakes world of women’s basketball. Upcoming projects include a limited series co-production with Paramount Network, “George & Tammy,” starring Oscar® nominee Jessica Chastain as country music legend Tammy Wynette, and hitchcockian thriller, “Angela Black,” created and produced by Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning producers Harry and Jack Williams and starring Golden Globe Winner® Joanne Froggatt. Currently airing on the platform are the Michelle and Robert King produced satirical drama, “The Bite,” Mark Strong-led thriller “Temple” along with popular limited series “Mad About You,” “Manhunt: Deadly Games” and “Eden.”
More information on Spectrum Originals can be found here.
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For small and medium-sized companies, Spectrum Business® delivers the same suite of broadband products and services coupled with special features and applications to enhance productivity, while for larger businesses and government entities, Spectrum Enterprise provides highly customized, fiber-based solutions. Spectrum Reach® delivers tailored advertising and production for the modern media landscape. The company also distributes award-winning news coverage, sports and high-quality original programming to its customers through Spectrum Networks and Spectrum Originals. More information about Charter can be found at corporate.charter.com.
About Sony Pictures Television
Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is one of the television industry’s leading content providers, producing, distributing and carrying programming worldwide in every genre and for every platform. In addition to managing one of the industry’s largest libraries of award-winning feature films, television shows, and formats, SPT is home to a thriving global content business, operating a robust portfolio of wholly-owned and joint-venture production companies across the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific, as well as linear and digital channels around the world. SPT is a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Group Corporation.
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