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RTÉ and Acorn TV with Acorn Media Enterprises Commission New Period Mystery 'Dead Still'
30 May 2019 : Nathan Griffin
Dead Still
RTÉ and Acorn Media Enterprises (AME) have partnered to commission ‘Dead Still’, an Irish period mystery with Dublin-based Deadpan Pictures and Toronto-based Shaftesbury co-producing, alongside ZDF Enterprises.

Set in 1880s Ireland in the Victorian era heyday of “postmortem photography,” the six-episode period drama follows a renowned memorial photographer as he investigates the murders of his recently deceased subjects.

‘Dead Still’ is written by John Morton and directed by Imogen Murphy (‘Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope’, ‘Red Rock’) and Craig David Wallace (‘Slasher’, ‘Todd and the Book of Pure Evil’, ‘Murdoch Mysteries’).

Acorn Media Enterprises has secured all rights in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom; co-premiere rights in Canada; and secondary rights in Ireland. ZDF Enterprises will distribute the series in the rest of the world. It was developed with the support of Screen Ireland and Creative Europe.

‘Dead Still’ will premiere in 2020 on RTÉ in Ireland and on Acorn TV in the United States as an Acorn TV Original. Acorn Media Enterprises (AME) is the UK-based development division for the Acorn TV brand of RLJ Entertainment, Inc., a privately owned subsidiary of AMC Networks. The series, with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), is now filming on location in and around Dublin through June 2019.

‘Dead Still’ blends mystery and drama with gallows humour, and features an incredible ensemble of acclaimed international actors including Michael Smiley (‘Luther’ as DS Benny Silver, ‘Wire in the Blood’,Death and Nightingales’) as Brock Blennerhasset, Kerr Logan (‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Victoria’, ‘Alias Grace’) as Conall Molloy, Eileen O’Higgins (‘Brooklyn’, ‘Mary Queen of Scots’) as Nancy Vickers, and Aidan O’Hare (‘Jackie’, ‘Pilis’) as Detective Frederick Regan. ‘Dead Still’ also stars Jimmy Smallhorne (Taken Down, Clean Break) as Cecil Carruthers, Mark Rendall (Departure, Versailles) as Percy Cummins, Peter Campion (Derry Girls, Kat and Alfie: Redwater) as Henry Vickers, and Martin Donovan (Big Little Lies, Fahrenheit 451).

The practice of memorial portraiture is at the height of its popularity – that is, the portrait photography of the recently deceased. As renowned memorial photographer Brock Blennerhasset (Smiley) expands his business with the help of his would-be actress niece Nancy Vickers (O’Higgins) and assistant Conall Molloy (Logan), someone with more sinister designs is getting in on the death photography game. A serial killer is cashing in on the sordid, developing taste for ‘snuff’ imagery - pictures of people in their death throes. The murders escalate and Detective Frederick Regan (O’Hare) of the Dublin Metropolitan Police suspects that Ireland may have its first serial murderer at large. As Blennerhasset becomes a possible suspect and his family is put in harm’s way, they must track down the serial killer before he strikes again.

“John Morton has written a truly unique series and RTÉ is delighted to work with Deadpan Pictures again and our partners at Acorn, ZDF Enterprises, and Shaftesbury. We can't wait to introduce this mysterious and intriguing drama to Irish audiences,” said Shane Murphy, RTÉ’s Group Head of Drama and Comedy.

Catherine Mackin, Managing Director of Acorn Media Enterprises noted, Given the popularity of RTÉ’s Striking Out, Acceptable Risk and Finding Joy with Acorn TV subscribers, we’re thrilled to commission a first-rate period drama with our friends at RTÉ. With its fascinating setting, gallows humour, inventive storylines and stellar cast, Dead Still will offer a fresh take on the genre and is sure to interest fans of international dramas.”

“Dead Still is a cracking original idea which entertains and surprises. Together with Shaftesbury and a fabulous cast we look forward to bringing this darkly comic Irish story to an international audience courtesy of Acorn, RTÉ and ZDF Enterprises,” said Paul Donovan, Managing Director, Deadpan Pictures.

“We are thrilled to partner with the talented team at Deadpan Pictures to produce DEAD STILL and look forward to working with RTÉ, Acorn, and ZDF to bring this morbidly comic drama to global audiences. We were immediately drawn to the series and its unique and compelling story world. Add to that an incredible all-star cast and I have no doubt that DEAD STILL is going to be an international hit series,” said Christina Jennings, Chairman & CEO, Shaftesbury.

‘Dead Still’ is executive produced by Paul Donovan, Ailish McElmeel, Christina Jennings, and Scott Garvie, and produced by Suzanne McAuley. DEAD STILL is an Ireland/Canada treaty co-production produced by Deadpan Pictures (Ireland) and Shaftesbury (Canada) in association with RTÉ, Acorn TV with Acorn Media Enterprises, ZDF Enterprises, and BAI, and with the participation of the Irish Tax Credit, Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, and the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit. DEAD STILL was developed with the support of Screen Ireland and Creative Europe.

‘Dead Still’ comes on the heels of recent RTÉ co-production drama series including ‘Taken Down’, ‘Finding Joy’, ‘Women on the Verge’ and ‘Striking Out’.

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