ITV’s post office drama that has led to an intense period of reckoning for multiple institutions and pushed the issue to the front pages of UK newspapers for weeks has found a U.S. home.
PBS Masterpiece has picked up Mr Bates vs The Post Office, which will air in April.
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Starring BAFTA-winners Toby Jones and Monica Dolan, the four-part show launched at the start of 2024 and dramatizes what is now deemed one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in UK legal history.
When money started to seemingly disappear from its local branches, the government-owned Post Office wrongly blamed their own managers for its apparent loss. For more than a decade, hundreds were accused of theft and fraud, and many were even sent to prison – leaving lives, marriages, and reputations in ruins. But the issue was actually caused by errors in the Post Office’s own computer system – something it denied for years.
The post office scandal has dominated UK newspapers and news websites for weeks now and numerous strides have been made in the drive for justice for the hundreds of post office workers.
The show has beaten Downton Abbey to become ITV’s biggest new drama launch in more than a decade and is averaging 13.1M viewers per episode – a rare feat for a British series to beat the 10M mark.
“Our ambition in telling this story was simply that the Subpostmasters felt heard,” said EP Patrick Spence, who produced for ITV Studios alongside Little Gem.
Susanne Simpson, Masterpiece EP, added: “Mr Bates vs The Post Office is a testament to the people who persisted in their search for truth and justice. The producers of this powerful drama have reignited the public interest in the Subpostmasters’ 20-year quest for justice. I’m incredibly proud that we will bring this story to the American audience.”
The U.S. acquisition comes a few weeks after ITV drama boss Polly Hill said British stories like Mr Bates are becoming “increasingly hard” to fund due to super-inflation in the drama market and the need to attract co-production funding.
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