ITV snaps up Star Trek's Stewart for £4.5m science thriller
LONDON - ITV has signed up 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' star Patrick Stewart for a new primetime science thriller to start filming next month, called 'Eleventh Hour'.
Hot on the heels of BBC's successful rebirth of classic science fiction show 'Doctor Who', this latest show by ITV will star science fiction fan's favourite Stewart as a scientist called Alan Hood battling to avert disasters.
However, a spokeswoman for ITV denied media reports that it will be a science fiction series. She said: "It's more in the way of a thriller with a strong science element, but it is not science fiction."
She added that the series, which is set in Manchester and shot by Granada, will be made up of four separate one-and-half-hour shows and has a budget of around £4.5m. It is not yet known when it will screen.
The show's writer Stephen Gallagher said: "In Patrick, I'm getting exactly what I always wanted for Hood -- a mature, vigorous, heroic figure of visable intelligence and sensitivity. This would be a real champagne moment for any writer."
Gallagher, whose other TV credits include BBC One show 'Bugs', added it was also a coup to get Stewart because the star is also about to start filming for 'X-Men 3'.
"There was always the danger of a scheduling clash with the start for the shooting on 'X-Men 3', but there was a real will on all sides to make it happen", he added.
The show's producer is Stephen Smallwood, whose credits include 'The Vice' and two of the shows will be directed by Terry McDonough, who recently worked on another ITV thriller series 'Wire in the Blood'.
Shakespearean-trained actor Stewart came to fame in the US after playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the Starship Enterprise, for seven seasons from 1987 to 1994 in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'. The show revived the 'Star Trek' franchise for Paramount and saw Stewart go on to star in four 'Next Generation' movies.
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