The April 1st US premiere of the first two episodes of ‘Camelot’ on the Starz network drew in the largest ever opening for a new drama series on Starz, exceeding the highly successful Spartacus premiere. Furthermore, following its premiere screening at MIPTV Camelot has now made extensive worldwide sales. Fellow Irish co-production, ‘The Borgias’, written, directed, created and co-produced by Neil Jordan opened on Sunday, April 3rd and achieved Showtime’s highest premiere ratings since 2003 and was even 20% up on mega hit The Tudors premiere figures.
Both projects were developed and produced by an Irish company whose founder members and co-directors are Morgan O’ Sullivan and James Flynn, located at Ardmore Studios, Bray, County Wicklow. It is the first time ever two Irish –originated and produced dramas have premiered on U.S cable television on the same weekend.
The first two episodes of ‘Camelot’ launched on Starz in the US on Friday, April 1st and has been well received by industry critics with Variety describing it as ”shrewdly cast and handsomely shot in Ireland,” whilst the Hollywood reporter notes that audiences should: “Forget heavy history. Starz's take on King Arthur's court is a sexier, grittier kind of costume drama.”
Created by Michael Hirst (The Tudors) and Chris Chibnall (Doctor Who) and based on Thomas Malory’s 15th century book, Le Morte d’Arthur, Camelot stars Joseph Fiennes (Flash Forward), Eva Green (Casino Royale), Jamie Campbell Bower (Twilight), Tamsin Egerton (Chalet Girl), Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black) and Peter Mooney (Summer’s Blood). Season one of the epic series shot in Wicklow and is an official co-production between the Irish production company Octagon Films and Take 5 Productions in Canada.
’Camelot’ is executive produced by Morgan O’Sullivan, lead producer of The Tudors, Ecosse Films’ Douglas Rae (Nowhere Boy), Graham King (The Departed,), Tim Headington (The Young Victoria), James Flynn and Craig Cegielski. Speaking this week with IFTN, Camelot producer Morgan O’Sullivan explained that a second series of the show was likely to be commissioned if US audience figures held firm. Previously, The Tudors had been extended to four season due to its unprecedented world-wide success.
’The Borgias’, another sweeping historical Irish co-production also premiered on America’s Showtime network on Sunday, April 3rd to Showtimes’s highest ever rating figures for an opening pilot in 8 years. The first two episodes of the series launched and introduced the story of the hugely influential and notorious 15th century Italian Borgias dynasty.
The series stars Jeremy Irons (Dead Ringers) and was created, executive produced and written written by Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan (Interview With The Vampire, The Crying Game) who also directed the pilot episode. James Flynn (As If I Am Not There) was the lead executive producer alongside Sheila Hockin, John Weber, Daryl Frank and Jack Rapke.
’The Borgias’, also an official Irish/Canadian co-production shot in Hungary and received excellent good reviews from US publications such as The Hollywood Reporter who calls it “a winning recipe of sex and swordplay – shot beautifully with beautiful people,” and Variety where the review praises Jeremy Iron’s casting saying “Few actors ooze decadence as effortlessly as Jeremy Irons,” followed by “casting him as the patriarch of ‘The Borgias’ - an amoral pope, no less, who bribes and bullies his way into the papacy - sounds like the role of a lifetime.”
- Episode three of ‘Camelot’, premieres on STARZ, on Friday, April 8 at 10pm ET/PT.
- The first and second episodes of ‘The Borgias’ will repeat on the Showtime Network on Wednesday, April 6th at 10pm ET/PT and episode three will broadcast on Sunday, April 10th at 10pm ET/PT. ‘The Borgias’ will be screened here on Sky Atlantic during the summer.