Arctic drama for See-Saw films

Aussie-UK producers film in pack ice, the furthest point north a drama series has ever filmed before.

Sydney & London-based See-Saw Films is producing a big budget period drama The North Water for BBC.

First scenes recently completed filming in the Arctic, shooting for three weeks in Svalbard. The unit travelled as far as 81 degrees north to film sequences in the pack ice, the furthest point north it is believed a drama series has ever filmed before.

The series stars Stephen Graham (The Virtues, Line of Duty), Tom Courtenay (45 Years, The Aeronauts) and Peter Mullan (Mum, Top Of The Lake) alongside Colin Farrell (True Detective, SWAT) and Jack O’Connell (Godless, Skins).

The North Water is set in Hull and the ice floes of the Arctic in the late 1850s. It tells the story of Patrick Sumner (O’Connell), a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as ship’s doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic. On board he meets the harpooner Henry Drax (Farrell), a brutish killer whose amorality has been shaped to fit the harshness of his world. Hoping to escape the horrors of his past, Sumner finds himself in a male-dominated world, on an ill-fated journey with a murderous psychopath. In search of redemption, his story becomes a harsh struggle for survival in the Arctic wasteland.

Stephen Graham said, “Filming on the ship was an incredible experience and one that I will never forget. To be so privileged to see such beautiful animals like polar bears in their natural habitat – albeit it an ever changing one, sadly – was truly remarkable.”

Filming now continues in Hungary.

Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Ian McGuire, The North Water (3×60’ and 1×90’) is adapted and directed by Andrew Haigh, and is produced by Kate Ogborn. Executive producers are Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman for See-Saw Films, Niv Fichman for Rhombus Media, and Jo McClellan for the BBC. The North Water is a co-production with Rhombus Media, with Pioneer Stillking providing production services in Hungary. It will be distributed internationally by BBC Studios.

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