Burn Up

BBC Drama today announces the commission of Burn Up, a two-part, provocative drama set in the real-life context of climate change.

To transmit on BBC Two in 2008, Burn Up is written by Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty) and produced by Kudos Film and Television, who have produced some of the BBC’s best loved dramas, including Spooks and Life On Mars.

Burn Up is an emotionally powerful story of love, commitment and divided loyalty – a thriller in which the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Producers Kudos Film and Television and SEVEN24 Films (Heartland, Tom Stone), along with worldwide distributor, Alchemy Television, have put together an extraordinary cast for this taut production, headed by Emmy award-winner Bradley Whitford, best known for his role as Josh on The West Wing.

Whitford is joined by Neve Campbell (Scream trilogy) and Rupert Penry-Jones (Spooks).

This topical thriller sees oil company executives, environmental activists and politicians collide in the battle between economic success and ecological responsibility.

Penry-Jones stars as Tom, who, having been named the new head of Arrow Oil, finds his life unravelling as he’s pulled into a high-stakes game of power and international intrigue.

Campbell plays his colleague Holly, whose covert collaboration with environmentalists puts her in great jeopardy, and Whitford plays Tom’s best friend Mack, a charismatic yet unscrupulous oil industry lobbyist.

We follow the trio’s lives and loves as they hurtle towards a global climate change summit.

Director Omar Madha (Spooks, Clocking Off) has begun pre-production and shooting starts later this month in Calgary, Canada, arriving in London in early 2008.

BBC Commissioning Editor for Drama, Lucy Richer, says: “Burn Up is a highly authored piece wholly of this unique moment in time. The exciting mix of US, Canadian and UK talent, the awesome backdrop of the Canadian wilds combined with Simon’s taut and provocative script makes for an epic proposition.”

Kudos Film and Television’s Stephen Garrett says: “As a lifelong fan of the political thriller, it’s been incredibly satisfying to marry it to the most urgent issue facing us as the century unfolds – a potent cocktail of fiction and fact that we hope will enlighten as much as it will entertain.”

Alchemy CEO Carrie Stein says: “Climate change and environmental issues affect us all, so Burn Up will strike a chord with every viewer. Writer Simon Beaufoy has constantly updated his research so our script is as current and realistic as today’s front-page news.”

Burn Up is produced by Kudos Film and Television and Calgary-based SEVEN24 Films for the BBC (UK) and Global Television (Canada).

It is written by Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty), directed by Omar Madha and is a UK/Canada treaty co-production.

Global’s Christine Shipton says: “I was immediately attracted to the potential of this project. Not only are the auspices of the creative team excellent, but I knew the story would be very relatable to Canadian audiences, as much of it hinges on activities right here in our homeland.”

Burn Up follows bold and challenging BBC drama commissions for 2008 including Messiah (BBC Drama Production for BBC One) and Bone Kickers (Monastic Productions/Mammoth Screen for BBC One).

Burn Up will transmit on BBC Two in 2008.

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