Life on Mars is getting a Chinese remake, with the BBC’s commercial arm partnering with Phoenix Entertainment Group to create a local Mandarin adaptation of the drama.
The original starred John Simm and Philip Glenister in the UK version, sees a present day detective transported mysteriously back in time, after a near-fatal accident. BBC Studios has previously licensed the format to Russia, Spain, Czech Republic and South Korea.
The deal marks BBC Studios’ first partnership with the Beijing-based production house.
Pre-production on the series will start this year with Phoenix producing 24 episodes of Life on Mars.
The drama will be based in 1990’s Beijing, a time of economic growth and cultural prosperity. A landmark decade as China became increasingly open to the rest of the world culturally.
David Weiland, EVP Asia, BBC Studios said: “I am delighted that our first partnership with Phoenix Entertainment Group is Life on Mars which ranks as one of the best dramas to come out of the UK and is a great example of the breadth and wealth of our scripted formats catalogue.
“We have a huge range of high quality scripted titles from Doctor Foster and Luther to Thirteen and In The Club, shows that would captivate Chinese audiences.
“I look forward to viewers enjoying this local version of Life on Mars as they go back 30 years in time.”
Bihai Wu, Vice President & General Manager, Phoenix Entertainment Group commented: “Following the huge success of our hit drama, Day and Night, developed and produced by Phoenix Entertainment Group for Youku, we have been carefully considering other shows that could meet the criteria of high quality and consistency with our slate and brand.
“Life on Mars drew our interest because of its originality and superb story telling.”
He added: “BBC Studios offers a great range of dramas that match our ambitions to produce captivating, first-class dramas for the fast growing Chinese SVOD market and their discerning audiences.”
Kelvin Yau, SVP and GM Greater China, BBC Studios said: “Remaking Life on Mars for the region is a very exciting prospect.
“Drama local adaptation is a growing business in North Asia, particularly in China where it claims 48% of all format sales, and is a key focus for BBC Studios as we continue to bring the best of British TV to Chinese audiences.”