Island funding for new Bergerac: Talks continue

The original series starred John Nettles (pictured) and ran on the BBC between 1981 and 1991

JERSEY’S government could still be financially involved in the recently announced Bergerac reboot, as discussions for an “acceptable funding package” continue.

Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel confirmed that his officers and Visit Jersey were “working closely to create a package that might be acceptable to the government for funding”.

BBC-owned broadcaster UKTV announced last week that it had commissioned a reboot of the “beloved and iconic” detective drama and that some filming would happen in Jersey.

Based on the original series created by Robert Banks Stewart, which starred John Nettles and ran on the BBC between 1981 and 1991, the new six-episode show will stream for free on UKTV Play and air on Drama in 2025, with casting to be announced in the coming months and filming due to begin this summer.

Deputy Morel previously said that the government was considering a possible £1.8 million investment in the show and officers were working with Visit Jersey to determine if it represented “value for money”.

In response to an oral question without notice in the States from Deputy Jonathan Renouf, Deputy Morel yesterday said that the final decision on whether to fund the show would most likely come down to him or Visit Jersey.

Deputy Renouf raised concerns that UKTV was “what could be termed as a niche digital channel without the huge reach of BBC1 that we were so familiar with in the 1980s” and asked whether the minister had put together a full cost-benefit analysis and business case for funding it.

Deputy Morel said he shared those concerns, saying: “It’s not just a case of there is a production and it is about Bergerac therefore it needs to be funded, but a case of: is this the right production to be shown in the right places, will it attract the right audience and audience numbers? Those are questions I am asking.”

He confirmed that a business case had been prepared and was circulating through government.

Previous media speculation has suggested that TV stars David Tennant, Aidan Turner and James Norton have all been considered for the top role, but no details about the lead have been revealed.

The new series is being produced by BlackLight TV, which is part of Banijay UK, and written by Bafta-winning writer Toby Whithouse alongside Brian Fillis, Catherine Tregenna and Polly Buckle.

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