Rainmark Films, the indie led by Game Of Thrones producer Frank Doelger and former BBC Films executive Tracey Scoffield, has lifted the lid on its multimillion-pound ITV Encore drama The Frankenstein Chronicles.
The London-based production company came close to making the series for Channel 4, but the broadcaster backed out of the project and it became ITV Encore’s first original commission last year.
“This project was in development with C4 for two years but they cancelled it. Fortunately for us, ITV was just about to launch Encore,” said Rainmark managing director Scoffield.
“We sent it to them - not knowing whether it would fit - and they felt like it would sit well.”
The Frankenstein Chronicles is currently in production in Northern Ireland, where it has received funding from Northern Ireland Screen, and Endemol Shine International will be selling the six-part series at MipTV in Cannes next month.
Sean Bean leads the cast in his first series for ITV since Sharpe. He plays a fearless detective on the hunt for a crazed killer through the dark recesses of Regency London.
“We were taken by the originality of this project,” Scoffield said. “It’s a mash-up of a genre detective thriller and a horror brand. As it is set at the same time that Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein was written, and with Mary Shelley being a character in the series, it feels very real.”
Creators Benjamin Ross (The Young Poisoner’s Handbook) and Barry Langford (Torte Bluma) use the world of Shelley’s gothic classic as the backdrop for the series.
“Without wanting to give too much away, the series is, to an extent, set in the world of Mary Shelley’s book. It was a time when people were very interested in new science and body-snatching took place for medical research.
“Those themes were fed into her work and we are set in that world,” Scoffield explained.
The series qualified for the high-end TV tax break and shooting in Northern Ireland has helped with costs.
“A lot of London was very rural at the time and many of the red-brick and larger houses in Northern Ireland are just the kinds of buildings known to London at that time, so it works very well,” said Scoffield.
“We’re doing it for less than the standard budget for a TV period drama, which is approximately £1.4m.”
Rainmark is also developing a BBC drama from 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen and Beta Films-backed Cold War series Back To Back, from German film-maker Oliver Hirschbiegel, director of Oscar-nominated drama Downfall.