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World Screen Newsflash

April 28, 2020

A+E Global Content Sales

Video Interview: The Team Behind A+E Networks’ Top-Rated New Show on U.K. Cable, Miss Scarlet and The Duke

Set in 19th-century Victorian London, Miss Scarlet and The Duke, the first international scripted co-production from A+E Networks, is the number one show on UKTV's Alibi this year, based on BARB data. Its March 31 premiere was Alibi’s top-rated, as well as its top overnight episode performer, in 2020, more than tripling the prime average. In the weeks since, Miss Scarlet, a six-hour detective drama which features a fearless, independent heroine, has continued to grow and retain a dedicated audience, with its fourth episode ranking as the number one pay-TV show among adults and women 16+.

A+E Networks is currently selling the drama, produced by Element 8 Entertainment, worldwide, with its U.S. debut coming as a MASTERPIECE presentation on PBS next fall.

To tap into the secrets of this series’ remarkable success, World Screen’s group editorial director, Anna Carugati, took part in a video conference with the women behind and in front of the camera who made it all happen: Kate Phillips, who stars as Eliza Scarlet; Moreyba Bidessie, VP of international scripted development at A+E Networks; Patty Ishimoto, managing partner at Element 8 Entertainment and executive producer on the series; creator and writer Rachael New; and Emma Sparks, head of acquisitions at UKTV.


Eliza Scarlet, played by Kate Phillips (Peaky Blinders, The Crown), has always been more interested in running her father’s detective agency than behaving like a proper lady. When her father dies suddenly, she’s determined to prove herself as a great detective—at a time when women were meant to be demure, subservient, at home with their husbands and children, not running around the city solving crime. This conflict, of a woman operating in a man’s world, is the engine of the show.

Also central to the drama is the relationship between Eliza and Duke, played by Stuart Martin (Jamestown, Babylon, Medici). Born William Wellington, his nickname Duke came from not only sharing the same name as the great 19th-century war hero The Duke of Wellington, but also the same reputation for being a leader of men and a consummate womanizer. Eliza won’t fall prey to his charm as other women do, but over the series, as she spends more time in his world—whether he likes it or not—Eliza opens his eyes to what a woman is capable of and challenges his misogynistic views.

Each episode sees a new case of the week to investigate. This is complemented by three different narrative arcs for the viewers to follow: Eliza’s journey from amateur sleuth to established private detective, the will-they-won’t-they dynamics of her relationship with Duke, and the fallout from the death of Eliza’s beloved father as new revelations come to light.

Ratings source: BARB / Digital-i, based on overnight viewing Live+VOSDAL, all program comparisons are made at an individual transmission level.

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Visit A+E Networks' Screening Room here.

A+E Networks Contacts: Steve MacDonald, President, Global Content Licensing & International; Patrick Vien, Group Managing Director, International; Mark Garner, EVP, Content Licensing & Business Development; Samuel Harowitz, VP, Digital Licensing; Sarah Shriver, VP, Distribution—Digital Content Monetization & Strategy; Ellen Lovejoy, Senior VP, Head of International Content Distribution, Americas & Formats; Bryan Gabourie, VP, International Content Distribution, Americas & Formats; Helen Jurado, VP, International Content Distribution, Latin America; Hannah Carrady, Sales Manager, International Content Distribution, Americas & Formats; Jossie Capon, Coordinator, International Content Distribution, Americas & Formats; Robyn Hurd, VP, International Content Distribution, EMEA; Michael Oesterlin, VP, International Content Distribution, EMEA; Mauro Sala, Senior Director, International Content Distribution, EMEA; Marica Giessen, Director, International Content Distribution, EMEA; Hannah Dal Pozzo, Associate Manager, International Scripted Development & Content Distribution, EMEA; Sarah Hussain, Manager, International Content Distribution, EMEA; Eftychia Alevropoulou, Manager, International Content Distribution, EMEA; Sonam Bhullar, Coordinator, EMEA & Formats; Temi Osoba, Coordinator, International Content Distribution, EMEA; Mark Wrigglesworth, Coordinator, International Content Distribution, EMEA; Glen Hansen, SVP, Head of International Content Distribution, AsiaPac; Pooja Nirmal Kant, Director, International Content Distribution, AsiaPac; Joy Atondo, Sales Manager, International Content Distribution, AsiaPac; Hayley Babcock, Head of Format Production; Crispin Clover, Director, International Format Production & Acquisitions.


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