BBC Buys Viaplay’s ‘Rebus’ Reboot Ahead Of Scandi Streamer’s UK Exit; Australia’s SBS Also Boards Scottish Crime Drama

EXCLUSIVE: The BBC has bought Viaplay’s Rebus reboot, following international streamer Viaplay’s decision to exit the UK. In further news, we can reveal Australia’s SBS has also acquired the show from distributor Viaplay Content Distribution.

Set in Edinburgh, the series stars Richard Rankin (Outlander) in the title role, playing a young John Rebus as a detective sergeant, who is drawn into a violent criminal conflict that turns personal when his brother Michael, a former soldier, crosses the line into criminality.

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The show, based on Ian Rankin’s novels and from Eleventh Hour Films, had originally been slated for Viaplay’s UK service, having been its first British commission back in November 2022. However, it will now run exclusively on BBC Scotland, BBC One and BBC iPlayer this spring.

Viaplay decided to pull out of the UK and several other territories following a brutal 202 and is selling its British business back to its previous owner, Premier Sports. The service remains available in the UK for now but Rebus will not sit on the platform. Last month, Viaplay sold nine original series to Prime Video in the Nordics as it moves away from drama and towards a model of lower-cost unscripted originals and sports.

The original Rebus series aired on BBC rival ITV between 2000 and 2007. The new series, written by Gregory Burke, shot in Glasgow and Edinburgh last year and will air in the spring.

Sue Deeks, Head of Programme Acquisition at the BBC, said: “We’re so pleased that this exciting new incarnation of Ian Rankin’s iconic character will be airing on the BBC. Viewers can expect compelling storylines, complex characters and an enjoyable mix of action, wit and humor.”

Starring alongside Rankin (no relation to book author Ian Rankin) are the likes of Lucie Shorthouse (Line of Duty, Ten Percent), Brian Ferguson (The Ipcress File, Spanish Princess), Amy Manson (The Nevers, The Diplomat) and Neshla Caplan (The Rig, Scot Squad).

Niall MacCormick (Complicit, The Victim, Wallander) and Fiona Walton (Shetland, Annika) are directing the six-part show, which is produced by Angela Murray. Paula Cuddy, Jill Green, Eve Gutierrez, Tomas Axelsson, Isabelle Hultén, Niall MacCormick, Gregory Burke and Ian Rankin are the executive producers. Rebus is distributed internationally by Viaplay Content Distribution.

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