BBC1 plans Marvel comic-inspired superhero series

Exclusive: BBC1 is lining up a superhero series for a prime-time Saturday night slot.

Superpower is being penned by former Doctor Who director Joe Ahearne, whose writing credits include episodes of This Life, the Channel 4 sci-fi series Ultraviolet and the forthcoming BBC1 supernatural drama Apparitions, which he has also directed.

Scripts for the series have been commissioned by the Corporation and Ahearne told The Stage that Impossible Pictures, the company behind ITV’s Primeval, is on board to make it. The writer said each episode of the show would have a stand-alone story, as opposed to featuring cliffhanger endings each week.

He said being a fan of Marvel comics had inspired the series, which he insisted would not be like any other superhero-themed shows being made for television.

“It is a new and original superhero idea which is not a send-up. All the super hero stuff that is on TV in this country – ITV’s No Heroics, My Hero – British TV is happy to do if it is a send-up, but no one has done it for real. There is a particular gimmick in mine, which I won’t give away, but it means it will be refreshed every episode,” he revealed.

Production for the show has not yet been given the green light, because Ahearne said BBC producers were waiting for a gap in the popular teatime slot, which is currently occupied by Merlin. A third series of Robin Hood, which also occupies the Saturday evening prime-time slot, is set for broadcast in 2009.

A BBC spokeswoman confirmed Superpower was in development with the BBC, but could not reveal further details.

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