May 18, 2024

South Africa‘s Quizzical Pictures has commissioned eight-part crime series “Murder By The Sea.”

The series is set in Blaasgat, a fictional coastal town named after its giant blowhole. When Lennart Cato, a local man-made-good, is found dead inside a papier-mâché whale on the opening night of a new Whale Museum that he’s funding, the locals turn to town resident and retired old-school thespian Lawrence Mantooth for answers. Once famous for his 80s TV show, where he played detective Pericles van Breda, Lawrence has found that few locals see the line between actor and character and often call on him to help with their little mysteries. Now, with this crime on their doorstep, he’s viewed as the obvious person to find out whodunnit? However, the real detective in Blaasgat is the woman behind the man – Lawrence’s keenly observant wife, Dawn Mantooth-Solomon.

“Murder By The Sea” is currently in development and being scripted by writer Darrel Bristow-Bovey, who also serves as executive producer on the series, based on an original idea from Bristow-Bovey and Joanna Simon. Bristow-Bovey wrote Quizzical’s “White Lies,” starring Natalie Dormer (“Game of Thrones”) as an investigative journalist in Cape Town, which was one of Variety‘s buzz titles at Mipcom earlier this year. The writer joined Quizzical producer and head of development at Quizzical Nimrod Geva to pitch crime thriller “Paradys” at Series Mania in 2022, where it won the Best Project Award.

Quiziccal has recently completed Season 2 of crime thriller series “Reyka,” starring Kim Engelbrecht (“The Flash”) as the eponymous detective. Season 1 of “Reyka” sold to more than 140 territories, received two International Emmy Award nominations, and won four South African Film and Television Awards. Both “Reyka” and “White Lies” were produced for Fremantle and M-Net.

“Murder By The Sea” will be launched to the international co-production market at Content London next week, where “White Lies” is being featured as a Hot Property.

Geva said: “We are excited to be in development on ‘Murder By The Sea’ and to once again be working with the incredibly talented Darrel Bristow-Bovey, along with Joanna Simon. This new series leans into our expertise in bringing compelling crime stories to the screen but moves away from the more recent dark, tense productions such as ‘Reyka’ and ‘White Lies’ to create something light, bright, funny and fresh.”

Harriet Gavshon, Quizzical Pictures co-founder and creative director, added: “Cosy crime is increasingly popular with international broadcasters and streamers. From early conversations, we are confident that this original piece of IP will tick many boxes with the potential co-production partners we’ll meet next week. Furthermore, with our skilled talent base, production economies, great weather and incredible locations – such as the Garden Route – South Africa is fast becoming an attractive destination for international producers.”

Bristow-Bovey is one of South Africa’s most prolific writing talents who has won multiple South African Film and Television Awards and wrote hit Netflix romantic comedy “A Sunday Affair” (2023).

Bristow-Bovey said: “Joanna and I have thoroughly enjoyed creating the world of ‘Murder By The Sea,’ with its small-town idiosyncrasies and eccentric characters, and we’re delighted to be collaborating once again with the fantastic team at Quizzical. With their beautifully crafted shows, a creative and commercial vision that is both ambitious and meticulous, and their profoundly respectful approach to creative partnership, Nimrod, Harriet and the Quizzical team are doing more than anyone I know to bring authentically entertaining contemporary South African stories to audiences around the world, and I’m very proud to be associated with them.”

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