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Tax breaks to bring Showtime’s Penny Dreadful to UK

Showtime’s Penny Dreadful is set to be one of the first major US TV dramas that will be shot in the UK as a direct consequence of the imminent high-end drama tax breaks.

The Neal Street Productions horror series was created by and written by Sam Mendes’ Skyfall partner John Logan, and will be exec produced by Mendes and Pippa Harris, the indie’s head of film and TV.

Penny Dreadful is set in Victorian London and will feature some of literature’s most iconic horror characters including Dr. Frankenstein and Dracula. 

Pippa Harris told Screen’s sister publication Broadcast that the tax breaks for £1m+ an hour drama, due to be introduced on April 1, were directly responsible for the project being shot in the UK.

She said Showtime execs had already travelled to the UK to cast an eye over suitable studio stages, ahead of a final decision on where it is shot.

“If it weren’t for the tax break, Showtime would have asked us to look to shoot in Ireland or Europe,” said Harris.

“It’s set in 1880s London, so it make sense to shoot in England. The only danger we foresee is that there could be such an influx of productions that studio space gets very tight.”

Principal photography is due to take place in the autumn.

Previous Showtime series such as The Borgias and The Tudors were shot at Hungary’s Korda Studios and in Ireland respectively.

The series was commissioned by Showtime’s president of entertainment David Nevins in January, who said: “John Logan and Sam Mendes are two of the great storytellers of our time.

“The visual spectacle combined with the psychological insight in their reimagining of these iconic literary characters seems totally mesmerizing to me. This promises to be a wholly original television show.”

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