‘Luther’ Star Idris Elba to Host BBC America’s Weekly ‘Dramaville’ Hour

Idris Elba

Idris Elba, Golden Globe-nominated star of BBC America’s Luther, will host BBC America’s new weekly dramatic programming slot, the channel announced today (May 25). Dramaville is set to launch Wednesday, August 17 at 10 pm ET with the premiere of The Hour, the period espionage thriller starring Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai, and Elba’s former Wire co-star Dominic West.

After The Hour‘s six-week run, the much-anticipated second season of Luther will take over the slot, starting Wednesday, October 5. And on November 5, Dramaville will see the U.S. premiere of Whitechapel, starring (be still my heart) Rupert Penry Jones.

The announcement of Elba as Dramaville host follows news earlier this week that comedian Chris Hardwick would emcee BBC America’s Ministry of Laughs comedy block. Here’s the full Dramaville release that went out to the trades today:

BBC AMERICA ANNOUNCES NEW DRAMA DESTINATION “DRAMAVILLE” HOSTED BY GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINEE IDRIS ELBA

New York – May 25, 2011 - BBC AMERICA today announced plans to increase its commitment to high quality and critically acclaimed British drama with the launch of a new weekly, hour-long slot, Dramaville.  It will be hosted by Golden Globe nominee and Luther star, Idris Elba, who will also serve as producer of the Dramaville host wraps through his company Headshell Productions.  Dramaville premieres Wednesday, August 17, 10:00p.m. ET/PT beginning with The Hour, a six-part edge-of-your-seat espionage thriller set in the 1950s.

Following the six week run of The Hour, Dramaville will play home to Luther, a sequel to the first critically acclaimed mini-series of the same name which stars Elba in the title role, followed by Whitechapel, a six-part contemporary crime thriller set in the shadow of Jack the Ripper and the infamous Kray Twins of the 1960s.

Perry Simon, General Manager, Channels, BBC Worldwide America says: “British drama has long been a standard bearer of great scripted television and Dramaville will showcase the very best of British creativity in a clear destination drama fans can easily find. It’s a real pleasure to welcome Idris back to the BBC AMERICA family as the host of Dramaville.”

Further details of the Dramaville franchise:

Launching the Dramaville slot is the previously announced BBC AMERICA co-production, The Hour.  A six-part drama series, created and written by BAFTA award-winning Abi Morgan (White Girl, Sex Traffic, Brick Lane, Murder), it stars Dominic West (The Wire, The Devil’s Whore), Romola Garai (Emma, Atonement) and Ben Whishaw (Bright Star, Criminal Justice, Brideshead Revisited) locked in a highly competitive, sharp witted and passionate love triangle.  The series, set behind the scenes of the BBC’s newsroom in London in the mid ‘50s, is an edge-of-your-seat spy thriller.  Produced by Kudos (Life on Mars, Spooks, Law and Order U.K.), it is distributed by Shine International.  It’s a Kudos Film and Television/BBC AMERICA co-production for the BBC. The executive producers are Jane Featherstone, Derek Wax and Abi Morgan for Kudos Film and Television and Lucy Richer for the BBC.  The Hour premieres Wednesday, August 17, 10:00p.m. ET/PT.

Golden Globe nominee Idris Elba is back in the previously announced, mini-series sequel Luther.  EIba (Thor, The Wire) stars as John Luther, the near-genius detective struggling to cope with his own demons, in two distinctive, thrilling crime stories. Devastated by the brutal murder of his wife, John Luther returns to policing in a different world.  His old unit has gone and he’s working in the newly created Serious and Serial Unit, headed by former police complaints officer Martin Schenk (Dermot Crowley, Babel, Bleak House).  Luther quickly gathers together his team, rescuing his old partner Detective Justin Ripley (Warren Brown, Occupation, Shameless) from uniform. It’s not long before they’re dealing with their first case. A masked man wanders the streets of London, carrying out ritualistic murders in historic locations, working his way up to one final masterpiece. It’s written by Neil Cross, Philippa Giles is executive producer and it’s a BBC and BBC AMERICA co-production.  Luther premieres Wednesday, October 5, 10:00p.m. ET/PT.

Announced today, Whitechapel is a six-part U.S. premiere crime drama set in modern day East London where the police force is faced with the brutal and bloody history of their streets – from echoes of the 19th century and Jack the Ripper to the infamous ‘60s crime twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray.  As the murder rate rises and there are no clues, Chandler and Miles realize the modern day killers are copying infamous crimes of the past.  Can the detectives do what their fellow officers failed to do and catch the murderers?  It stars Rupert Penry-Jones (Spooks, Persuasion) as Detective Inspector Chandler, Phil Davis (Bleak House, Vera Drake, Ashes to Ashes) as Detective Sergeant Miles and Steve Pemberton (The League of Gentlemen) as Edward Buchan.  It’s written by Ben Court and Caroline Ip, Sally Woodward Gentle is executive producer and it’s a Carnival Films production for ITV.  Whitechapel premieres Wednesday, November 2, 10:00p.m. ET/PT.

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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