November 28, 2023

Stories for society: New8 unveils first-year lineup of drama series

Today at Content London, partners within the New8 drama collaboration showcased their first set of eight drama series. New8 brings together eight public service broadcasters from North-Western Europe. ZDF (Germany), NPO (The Netherlands), VRT (Belgium), SVT (Sweden), DR (Denmark), YLE (Finland), RÚV (Iceland) and NRK (Norway) joined forces to create top drama, built on public service values. The first series will be broadcast in the participating countries starting 2025.

The New8 series entertain and shed light on European societies. The first-year slate has a wide span; ranging from heart touching stories on relevant themes - dealing with ethical dilemmas in our commercially driven world - to series playing with European arts and culture, and high-end dramas on events that have changed the world as we see it.   

Thanks to this collaboration, not only the Fleming but also a wide international audience will have access to eight compelling and unique stories from Europe each year. Bold stories on universal topics told by local creators in a unique, intriguing and surprising way. Entertainment and relevance combined in the best way: in top drama.
Wim Janssen, head of fiction at VRT

The eight titles are:    

  • Vanguard (SVT, Sweden)  Produced by FLX, written by Alex Haridi, and directed by Goran Kapetanović. 

From the writer of Quicksand the director of Caliphate comes the story about Jan Stenbeck. An unlikely media mogul and vanguard of technological reforms, torn between passion and duty. It is a tale about fearless entrepreneurship, a will to change the world - and sibling rivalry in a family that never healed from their feuds. 

  • The CumEx Files (DR, Denmark, and ZDF, Germany)   Produced by X Filme and True Content, showrunner Jan Schomburg, directed by Dustin Loose (DE) and Kaspar Munk (DK). 

The eight-part drama series The CumEx Files (working title) uncovers the harrowing true story behind the biggest tax fraud in history. At least €150 billions were unlawfully taken from European taxpayers through this huge financial crime, orchestrated by high-profile lawyers, wealthy investors and major banks.   

  • Holmlia love (NRK, Norway)  Produced by Monster Scripted, created by Mikael Diseth, and directed by Andre Chocron. 

In the summer of 2000, in the multicultural neighborhood of Holmlia in Oslo, two 15-year-old best friends, Nader and Benjamin, enjoy sunny days at the beach. Meanwhile, single mom Ingrid moves there for a fresh start. Shockingly, six months later, one of the boys is brutally killed by neo-Nazis, and the other grapples with survivor's guilt. Parents, friends, and neighbors, including Ingrid, struggle to cope with the consequences. "Holmlia Love" tells the true story of the racist killing that shattered Norway's innocence and how the community came together against all odds. 

  • Push (ZDF, Germany)  Produced by Bantry Bay Productions, created by Luisa Hardenberg, and directed by Katja Benrath and Mia Maariel Meyer. 

They give birth to little miracles every day and are crucial to one of the most emotional, unpredictable and challenging moments in a woman's life: midwives. In Push, we see three women at different ages, who love this job but face crucial challenges both professionally and privately.   

  • This is not a murder mystery (VRT, Belgium)  Produced by Panenka for VRT, in co-production with Deadpan Pictures, RTL, Proximus and New8, with the support of Odessa Productions, Flanders Film Fund (VAF), Creative Europe MEDIA and the Belgian Tax Shelter. Distributed by Studiocanal. Directed by Hans Herbots and Matthias Lebeer. Based on an original idea by Matthias Lebeer and Christophe Dirickx. Created by Christophe Dirickx and Paul Baeten. 

A visually stunning and surprising whodunit, in which up-and-coming artist René Magritte travels to London for the First International Surrealist Exhibition, which takes place at the magnificent Estate of the exuberant Lord James. After a number of fellow artists fall victim to a mysterious killer, Scotland Yard shows up and no one is allowed to leave the premises. Magritte – as one of the prime suspects – must figure out what happened in order to clear, or condemn, his own name. 

  • Kabul (ZDF, German)  Produced by 2425 and Cinétévé, written by Olivier Demangel and Thomas Finkielkraut, and directed by Kasia Adamik and Olga Chajdas. 

Kabul, August 14th, 2021: While the Taliban are at the gates of the city, France prepares to evacuate its embassy. But the sudden fall of Kabul the next day rushes all the plans. French, Italian, German and American diplomats and the police must improvise the evacuation of hundreds of Afghan and international refugees to the airport. While chaos reaches the city, the Afghans will soon have only two choices: to kneel or to run away.  

  • Queen of Fucking Everything (YLE, Finland)  Produced by Rabbit Films, written and directed by Tiina Lymi. 

Linda Saarniluoto, a successful real estate agent, falls from high society to the lowest classes – only to fight her way back to a different kind of elite: the criminal one. In order to survive, Linda needs to recreate herself in these two worlds, push the boundaries of her morals and her need for love, and ultimately become the Queen of Fucking Everything. A crime-without-police series toned with grim Finnish humour. 

  • Elixir (NPO/NTR/BNNVARA, The Netherlands)  Produced by Topkapi Series, written by Maaik Krijgsman, and directed by Dana Nechushtan. 

What if you were born into Big Pharma? In Elixir, Isabelle Rombauts is unexpectedly appointed the CEO of the family-owned company Rombauts Pharma, a prominent player in the international pharmaceutical market. Soon, she is confronted with serious malpractices and must weigh her own conscience against the interests of her influential family. A world full of intrigue, power struggles, and despair within the pharmaceutical industry unfolds.    

The eight top titles were announced during the Content Strategies: European Drama Collaboration New8-panel in London. New8 partners were represented by Simone Emmelius, SVP of International fiction at ZDF (Germany), Hans Schwarz, Head of Drama at NPO (The Netherlands), Wim Janssen, Head of Drama at VRT (Belgium), Anna Croneman, Head of Drama at SVT (Sweden), Jarmo Lampela, Head of Drama at YLE (Finland), Henriette Marienlund, Head of Drama at DR (Denmark), Skarphéðinn Guðmundsson, Head of TV at RÚV (Iceland), Marianne Furevold-Boland, Head of drama at NRK (Norway).  

About New8 

The European drama collaboration New8 brings together eight public service broadcasters to co-produce and distribute high-quality drama series. Its aim is to strengthen their offer to local audiences, building on a shared public mission, and create a bigger impact in the international media sector. The collaboration is trust-based: each broadcaster decides which series they bring in. Through New8, partners can build on each other’s knowledge and experience to bring top drama to a wide audience. The New8 drama collaboration was unveiled at MIA, Mercato Internazionale Audiovisivo, in Rome last month.