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Channel 5 Takes Gotham…

by Dave Elliott

Channel 5 has added a white-hot drama to their autumn schedule with the exclusive acquisition of Warner Brothers’ Gotham; the standout show from May’s LA Screenings and one of the most hotly anticipated US drama launches this year.

Channel 5’s Head of Acquisitions, Katie Keenan, brokered the deal: “I don’t think there was a more exciting show at the LA screenings this year – Gotham is a thrilling drama built on iconic characters that fascinate. Channel 5 is delighted to become the home of such a powerful, bold and visually stunning show. Its acquisition proves we continue to be committed to the biggest in US drama.”

Drawing on the origin story of a pre-Batman Gotham City, the series follows the young Detective (and future Commissioner) James Gordon and the recently orphaned Bruce Wayne in the dark days before the arrival of the Dark Knight. With a stellar cast including Ben McKenzie (Southland, The O.C.), Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy, Vikings, Terriers), Jada Pinkett Smith (The Matrix Reloaded, Ali, Collateral, HawthoRNe) and Sean Pertwee (The Musketeers, Elementary, Luther, The Tudors), the series follows Gordon’s rise from rookie detective to Police Commissioner as he navigates the layers of corruption that secretly rule Gotham City – the spawning ground of the world’s most iconic villains, the larger-than-life personas who would become Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face and The Joker.

The action-packed series draws on the stories of the great DC Comics Super-Villains and vigilantes, revealing an entirely new chapter that has never been told. From executive producer/writer Bruno Heller (The Mentalist, Rome), this one-hour drama follows one cop’s rise through a dangerously corrupt city teetering on the edge of evil and chronicles the genesis of one of the most popular super heroes of our time. Brave, earnest and eager to prove himself, the newly minted detective Gordon (McKenzie) is partnered with the brash, but shrewd police legend Harvey Bullock (Logue), as the two stumble upon the city’s highest-profile case ever: the murder of local billionaires Thomas and Martha Wayne.

At the scene of the crime, Gordon meets the sole survivor: the Waynes’ hauntingly intense 12-year-old son, Bruce (David Mazouz – Touch), toward whom the young detective feels an inexplicable kinship. Moved by the boy’s profound loss, Gordon vows to catch the killer. As he navigates the often-underhanded politics of Gotham’s criminal justice system, Gordon encounters imposing gang boss Fish Mooney (Pinkett Smith), mob kingpin Carmine Falcone (John Doman – The Wire) and many of the characters who will become some of DC Comics’ most renowned, enduring villains, including a teenaged Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor – The Walking Dead) and Edward Nygma/the future Riddler (Cory Michael Smith). Although the crime drama follows Gordon’s turbulent and singular rise through the Gotham City police department, it also focuses on the unlikely friendship Gordon forms with the young heir to the Wayne fortune, who is being raised by his unflappable butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Pertwee) – a friendship that will last them all of their lives and will play a crucial role in helping the young boy eventually become the crusader he’s destined to be.

Based upon the characters from DC Comics and produced by Warner Bros. Television, Gotham is executive produced by Bruno Heller (who wrote the pilot), Danny Cannon (who directed the pilot) and John Stephens. Premiering in the US on 22 September 2014 (Mondays at 8/7c on FOX), the series is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. International Television Distribution.

The series will air in the UK on Channel 5 and Demand 5 this autumn. Keep an eye on the Gotham UK Air Date page for an exact date.

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