Eagle Eye Drama announce first original commission: Hotel Portofino. ITV and Britbox take UK rights.

Eagle Eye Drama has announced the production of Hotel Portofino, the company’s first ever original commission. The series, a historical family drama set in the 1920s on the Italian Riviera, is filming across the summer, and stars Natascha McElhone, Mark Umbers and Anna Chancellor. PBS Distribution has the North American distribution rights and ITV and BritBox have acquired the series for the UK. ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, will oversee production from the company’s perspective. Rights to the series have also already been snapped up by Sky Italia in Italy and Foxtel in Australia.

Natascha McElhone (Ronin, Californication, Halo) leads the cast as Bella Ainsworth, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist who moves to Italy to set up a quintessentially British hotel in the breathtaking beautiful town of Portofino. Mark Umbers (Home Fires) plays her charming but dangerous aristocratic husband, Cecil, and Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Hour) plays the hotel’s most influential but hard-to-please guest, Lady Latchmere. The series also features Italian star Daniele Pecci (Orgoglio) as charismatic Count Carlo Albani, Lorenzo Richelmy (Marco Polo) as his son Roberto Albani, while rising star Rocco Fasano (Skam Italia) takes on the role of anti-fascist activist Gianluca Vitali.

Hotel Portofino is a family drama full of emotional highs and lows, with a classic ‘whodunit’ mystery woven throughout and building to a dramatic climax. Created and written by Matt Baker, the series captures the long-established literary tradition of comic and idiosyncratic British ‘innocents abroad’, but also reveals darker more serious storylines, set against the historical backdrop of the rise of Fascism in Mussolini’s Italy. Embracing themes of sexual and social liberation, Hotel Portofino will deliver a heady cocktail of subplots in a breathtaking Italian setting.

The series is being filmed in Portofino, Italy and along the Croatian coastline. It is directed by Adam Wimpenny (Blackwood), produced by Julie Baines (Four Kids and It) and executive produced by Jo McGrath and Walter Iuzzolino. The series is produced in cooperation with the BetaFilm Group, which also handles the world sales. Production service is provided by Drugiplan.

Andrea Downing, President of PBS Distribution, says: “We are thrilled to be bringing to U.S. and Canadian audiences the first original series coming from Eagle Eye. This beautifully crafted series will have viewers immersed in an intensely lush production filled with mystery, intrigue, and drama, all within the backdrop of Portofino, one of Europe’s most magnificent coastal towns.”

Walter Iuzzolino, CEO, Eagle Eye Drama, adds: “This is a hugely important and exciting new creative chapter for Eagle Eye; Hotel Portofino is our very first original series, from an idea which was developed in-house. The series was inspired by my hometown and we’re grateful to PBS Distribution who have been incredibly supportive and collaborative partners on this project.”

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