Stuff The British Stole to be turned into heist series

Source: ABC TV

Marc Fennell’s hit documentary series exposing Britain’s history of looting historical treasures is to be turned into a scripted heist show.

Stuff The British Stole, presented by Walkley Award-winning journalist Fennell and based on an ABC podcast of the same name, will be remade into a “six-part scripted heist caper”, Deadline reports.

Producers are reportedly describing the show “an exploration of the the nuanced debate around repatriation through a sharply funny lens”.

Fennell, who has signed on as an executive producer, told Australian TV blog TV Tonight he “can’t wait” to see the show come to life.

“After five million downloads of the original podcast and now two factual TV series, it’s become very clear that there’s a million stories within the Stuff The British Stole universe that are dying to be told,” he said.

“The caper that the team is putting together is going to delve into all of the messy and twisted corners of history that people have come to love.”

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Anchuli Felicia King, who co-wrote Tasmania-based black comedy series Deadloch, will create and write the show. It will be filmed in Australia.

The show’s creative team will be rounded out by fellow Deadloch alum, director and writer Ben Chessell, Class of ’07 creator, director and writer Kacie Anning, and award-winning First Nations playwright Dylan Van Den Berg, known for works such as Whitefella Yella Tree.

In a statement to Deadline, producers said the creative team had “developed a unique cast of diverse and fascinating characters, who almost accidentally steal their way to becoming the heroes of a global repatriation movement”.

“In doing so, they find themselves not just on the run, but in the middle of a multi-government, political sh-t storm.

“If there’s one thing we learned from the brilliant Stuff the British Stole factual series, it’s that history is complex – a lesson our characters will learn the hard way.”

The show will be a co-production from Warner Bros International Television Production and independent Australian production company Wooden Horse.

Debate over past – and current – wrongs

News of the show comes after the second season of Stuff The British Stole set social media abuzz over recent weeks.

One of the topics of debate was the ethics – or lack thereof – of institutions such as the British Museum refusing to give artefacts such as the Parthenon [Elgin] marbles back to their home countries, despite questions about the legality of their original removal and the existence of technology capable of recreating them for display.

In recent days, there’s also been public discussion about Australian museums displaying Egyptian mummies, with critics pointing out visitors were gawking at the remains of human beings who would not have been comfortable with their bodies being put on display.

“I’ve joked for a long time that this show is Indiana Jones in reverse – he goes around the world and says things belong in a museum, and then I come along and go, ‘Yeah, but does it?'” Fennell told Mediaweek.

A third season of the documentary series is reportedly in production.

Topics: Marc Fennell
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