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BBC heads offworld with Outcasts

14/01/2010. Contributed by Stephen Hunt

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The BBC is set to produce a new science fiction series called Outcasts with the same team that produced such spy-fi masterworks as Spooks and the con is on Hustle, not to mention time travelling cop series Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes.

The main thrust of the series appears to be a colony adventure set on an unspecified new world. No cast details as of yet, but the basic plot seems to be the trials and tribulations of a group of colonists attempting to settle a new planet against the backdrop of having survived the ecological destruction of Earth.

Now Hustle and Spooks are two of the BBC's most slick television programs, with Spooks being one of the most long-running as well as the most popular series carried by the BBC. I have no doubt that in such hands, the troubles of settling a virgin world will be complex with plenty of politics and adventure. The first serious will be in eight parts each an hour-long and is being shot in South Africa.

Jane Featherstone, executive producer of Outcasts, told the Nest, "With his usual wit and insight, Ben Richards has imagined a near-future, when humans are still led by their hearts even though their surroundings have changed. Action packed and full of surprises, we hope Outcasts will have everyone gripped right from the start."

Simon Crawford Collins, also an executive producer of Outcasts, added, "We have a long and highly-successful working relationship with the BBC forged on such shows as Spooks, Hustle and Life On Mars and are really excited about continuing this on Outcasts. Outcasts is as original, contemporary and compelling as our past shows but will take viewers into a new world, literally, as it explores humans' drive for power, politics and sex in this new post-Earth era."

There is no news yet on the casting, but despite the people at film house Kudos making all the right noises, one aspect of this production sets me worrying that the people involved may not understand much about science fiction. And that is this. The year that this new world is meant to be colonised, we are told, is 2040. Yes that is right 2040. Now, I don't know about you, but I suspect we will be lucky if we even have a moon base by 2040. I suspect we will be really really lucky if we have landed a man on Mars in that time frame.

Unless the plot of this new TV series has some little quirk such as humanity, having destroyed the Earth, accepting charity from some alien race who is willing to give us a lift at trans-light speed to a nice inhabitable solar system, the chances of mankind getting even a sniff of some offworld action, is about as about as high as myself been elected president of the USA.

So, anyway, I shall hold my reservations on this one untiI get to see it.

Shooting starts in South Africa in April 2010 with casting to be confirmed.

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