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Alia Bhatt Boards Prime Video’s ‘Poacher’; BBC Children’s Builds Out ‘Blocks’ Franchise; Mobeen Azhar Indie Deal; Irish Production Hub Planned — Global Briefs

Alia Bhatt To Exec Produce Prime Video’s ‘Poacher’

Bollywood star Alia Bhatt has signed on as an executive producer on Poacher, an upcoming Prime Video investigative crime-themed drama series based on real events from QC Entertainment, the film production and finance company with credits for Antebellum, Us, Get Out and BlackKklansmen. Poacher, created, written, and directed by Richie Mehta, the series stars Nimisha Sajayan, Roshan Mathew and Dibyendu Bhattacharya and is set in the world of illegal poaching. Bhatt will EP through her Eternal Sunshine Productions business as an associate producer. Suitable Pictures, Poor Man’s Productions are also associate producers. “The impact of Poacher was deeply personal, and Richie’s portrayal of the urgent issue of wildlife crime resonated strongly with me and the team,” she said. Bhatt is known for films such as Highway, Udta Punjab, Raazi and Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva

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BBC Children’s Builds Out ‘Blocks’ Franchise

BBC Children’s and Education is expanding its Blocks animated preschooler franchise. The BBC kids division has struck a new deal with Alphablocks Ltd. and Blue Zoo Animation Studio to create more Blocks-branded content over the next five years for its CBeebies network. This will see new episodes of Alphablocks, Numberblocks and Colourblock, with season of the latter debuting on February 12. The deal ensures new Blocks episodes will launch on CBeebies until 2027. The series has been very influential British educational circles, with 90% of primary (junior) schools using the Blocks brands, resulting in a change to the UK curriculum to facilitate new skills learned through the programs. Kate Morton, Senior Head of Children’s Commissioning for CBeebies called the deal “the biggest content agreement of its kind.”

BBC Studios Signs First-Look Deal With Mobeen Azhar Indie

BBC Studios Factual Productions has signed an exclusive three-year deal with Mobeen Azhar and Jeremy Lee’s indie Forest. The BBC production unit will support the Battle for Britney and Trouble with Kanye producer in return for a first-look at distribution rights. Forest is one of the highest-profile newer indies in the UK, having made a string of notable programs since launch four years ago. Co-founder Azhar has emerged as a major presenting talent in the investigative doc space after winning at RTS award for 2017 doc Hometown: A Killing. Last year, he presented Predator: The Secret Scandal of J-Pop, which centered on allegations against American-Japanese talent agent Johnny Kitagawa. “BBC Studios feels like the obvious partner to help us deliver the next wave of Forest projects to a worldwide audience,” said Lee.

Ireland’s Great Island Unveils ‘Headcase’

Irish producer Great Island has unveiled scripted series Headcase to the international market, as it gears up to launch a TV production center in Cork. Headcase is one of 12 projects the indie has in development, and the plan is to get into production in late 2024. It is billed as an “edgy comedy-drama which follows a troubled, double-life leading Cork street artist, his former boxing champion sister and an agoraphobic friend in their search for a more meaningful life.” This comes as Great Island plans to launch a production center in Cork, to better position the city as an alternative filming hub to Dublin, Wicklow and Galway.

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