The New Ireland-Canada Co-Production stars Michael Smiley (Luther, Death and Nightingales), Kerr Logan (Game of Thrones, Alias Grace), Eileen O’Higgins (Brooklyn, Mary Queen of Scots), Aidan O’Hare (Jackie, Pilis), Mark Rendall (Departure, Versailles), and featuring Martin Donovan (Big Little Lies, Fahrenheit 451)
Silver Spring, MD; May 30, 2019 – 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. 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).
Dublin, 1880. 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.
Acorn TV with Acorn Media Enterprises has commissioned several series including Agatha Raisin, Series 2 (Trailer) and Series 3 starring Ashley Jensen; the straight-to-series order of British drama London Kills, in corporation with ZDF Enterprises and starring Hugo Speer and Sharon Small (Trailer); and fun British mystery Queens of Mystery, in corporation with ZDF Enterprises and starring Olivia Vinall and Julie Graham (Trailer). Acorn TV has also recently featured the U.S. premiere of ITV’s highest rated drama in the past five years with true crime drama Manhunt starring Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) (Trailer), and UK’s highest rated show of the year and from the creator of Bodyguard with the return of Line of Duty, Season 5 (Trailer).
RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) is Ireland's national public-service media organisation. RTÉ commissions a broad range of high-quality programming and content to meet the needs of multiple audiences. Further information can be found here: https://www.rte.ie/about/en/how-rte-is-run/2014/0310/601244-about-rte/
RLJ Entertainment: A privately owned subsidiary of AMC Networks, RLJ Entertainment, Inc. is a premium digital channel company serving distinct audiences primarily through its popular OTT branded channels, Acorn TV (British TV) and UMC (Urban Movie Channel), which have rapidly grown through development, acquisition, and distribution of its exclusive rights to a large library of international and British dramas, independent feature films and urban content. RLJE’s titles are also distributed in multiple formats including broadcast and pay television, theatrical and non-theatrical, DVD, Blu-ray, UHD, and a variety of digital distribution models (including EST, VOD, SVOD and AVOD) in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Additionally, through Acorn Media Enterprises, its UK development arm, RLJE commissions and co-produces new programs and owns 64% of Agatha Christie Limited. For more information, please visit RLJENTERTAINMENT.COM, ACORN.TV, and UMC.TV
About ZDF Enterprises
ZDF Enterprises was founded in 1993 as a commercial subsidiary of ZDF, one of the largest and most renowned TV broadcasters in Europe. Headquartered in Mainz, Germany, ZDF Enterprises is responsible for the worldwide sale of programs, the making of international coproductions, the acquisition of licenses as well as the merchandising of strong program brands in its own name, for the ZDF, and for third parties. ZDF Enterprises has successfully established itself as an independent market player on the German and international stage. Bound into a strong group, the company manages the largest German-language stock of programs in the world and, next to this, a continuously growing portfolio of international productions consisting of series and miniseries, TV movies, documentaries and children’s programs. In the course of the development and diversification process carried out up to now, many business fields in the television and media domains were made accessible in the ZDF Enterprises group. Thus ZDF Enterprises can provide a comprehensive, full-service offering today, and covers every step in the chain of origin and exploitation of successful TV programs, from development to production and up to the marketing of TV licenses, merchandising rights, online rights and much more.
About Deadpan Pictures
Deadpan Pictures is an award-winning boutique production company specialising in TV and feature film comedy drama. Building on the success of International Emmy-winner Moone Boy, Trivia and a history of highly successful comedy production (as Grand Pictures), Deadpan continues to work with the best Irish comedy talent, bringing projects with a distinct Irish flavour to the international market.
Our most recent productions include The Last Right, from writer/director Aoife Crehan, starring Michiel Huisman and Niamh Algar. We teamed up with CrossDay Productions for the film which is part financed by eOne Entertainment. Four Kids and It, a family adventure feature film starring Academy Award-winner Michael Caine, Paula Patton, Matthew Goode and Russell Brand, is due for release in late 2019. The film is based on the best-selling children’s novel by Jacqueline Wilson and is a co-production with Dan Films and Kindle Entertainment.
We also recently brought Sharon Horgan and Lorna Martin’s Women on the Verge to RTÉ, as production partners alongside Merman and House Productions in the UK where it aired on UKTV’s premium entertainment channel, W. Prior to that we produced female-led comedy Nowhere Fast (6 x 30 mins) by Alison Spittle, which is about life in the Irish midlands and aired to critical acclaim on RTÉ and BBC Worldwide (BBC Studios) and Can’t Cope Won’t Cope which was received with acclaim on RTÉ for 2 series and has sold internationally to Netflix.
Shaftesbury is an award-winning creator and producer of original content for television, film, digital, and brands. Shaftesbury's current slate includes 13 seasons of Murdoch Mysteries for CBC, UKTV, and ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment, three seasons of detective drama Frankie Drake Mysteries for CBC, UKTV, and Kew Media, three seasons of critically acclaimed thriller series Slasher for Netflix, as well as new primetime series Hudson & Rex for CityTV/Rogers Media, and Departure for Global/Corus Entertainment. Shaftesbury's digital arm produces original digital, convergent, and branded entertainment projects including the global phenomenon and MIPTV Brand Content of the Year award winner Carmilla. Shaftesbury’s branded entertainment division drives profitable engagement with millennials using scripted series, turning brands into executive producers. Recent brand partners include Nokia, Walmart, Interac, U by Kotex®, and RBC. For more information on this and other Shaftesbury series, please visit the Shaftesbury media site at shaftesbury.ca/media.
Acorn TV Press Contact: Chad Campbell, 301.830.6203, firstname.lastname@example.org
ZDF Enterprises Press Contact: Christine Denilauler / 0049 6131 991-1130 / Christine.Denilauler@zdf-enterprises.de