BBC America signaled that it would invest in original programming early this year, and the first fruit of that labor appears to be The Fades.
The Fades will be produced by BBC America and BBC 3 in the UK. The network’s press release noted that the new series is being written by Skins (UK version) scribe Jack Thorne, and produced by Susan Hogg (Survivors, Waking the Dead).
The show follows a British teenager named Paul who has visions of a terrifying apocalypse. His therapist, best friend and sister are helpless to assist him as his delusions continue to invade his life. Paul begins to see spirits (the titular Fades) that no one else notices. When one of the Fades crosses over into the “real” world and becomes human, Paul and his companions must find a way to stop the rest of them from destroying the world.
The lead role of Paul will be played by Iain De Caestecker, whose UK credits include Lip Service and Coronation Street. His best friend Mac is one of two Skins veterans, Daniel Kaluuya. The other is Lily Loveless, who’ll be playing Paul’s sister, Anna.
BBC Executive Perry Simon had this to say about The Fades:
Jack Thorne is one of the UK’s most exciting writing talents, and The Fades intelligently blends comedy and horror into a mythological storyline – a mix in keeping with other shows in our Supernatural Saturday line up. We’re pleased to partner again with our colleagues at BBC Drama Productions on another quality series.”
The development is an exciting one for the BBC’s American arm and anglophiles on this side of the pond. No longer relegated to reruns (like Battlestar Galactica) and imports, BBC America can start to develop programming to bring itself into the ever-expanding realm of cable production houses.
BBC America’s new Vice President of Original Programming Rachel Smith indicated the network’s aim for expansion back in January. While Smith’s previous experience implied she might go the reality show route, a scripted supernatural thriller is a refreshing choice to be the network’s first original show.
The Fades will span six one-hour episodes (typical for a British program) and air in the fall. Precise scheduling isn’t available, but given the split production, a repeat of Doctor Who‘s same-day US an UK premiere is not out of the question.