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NBC Developing Miniseries About The Beatles With 'Vikings' Creator Michael Hirst

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist June 16, 2014 at 9:51AM

They're the most important band in the history of pop music, but The Beatles have surprisingly featured relatively little on screen. Obviously, they featured directly in the great "A Hard Day's Night," "Help" and "Yellow Submarine," but latter-day attempts to capture their stories or songs on screen have ended up more like "Nowhere Boy" or "Across The Universe." There have been projects in development; Michael Winterbottom is developing a project called "The Longest Cocktail Party," and Peyton Reed was attached to a biopic of Beatles manager Brian Epstein before he crossed the picket line to direct "Ant-Man." But neither have made it to production.
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A Hard Day's Night
"A Hard Day's Night"

They're the most important band in the history of pop music, but The Beatles have surprisingly featured relatively little on screen. Obviously, they featured directly in the great "A Hard Day's Night," "Help" and "Yellow Submarine," but latter-day attempts to capture their stories or songs on screen have ended up more like "Nowhere Boy" or "Across The Universe." There have been projects in development; Michael Winterbottom is developing a project called "The Longest Cocktail Party," and Peyton Reed was attached to a biopic of Beatles manager Brian Epstein before he crossed the picket line to direct "Ant-Man." But neither have made it to production.

But maybe the small screen would be the best way to tell the band's story, given its sprawling nature? That's certainly what NBC seem to think, as Deadline report that the network are developing an 'event series' (21st century TV speak for 'miniseries,' along the lines of their disastrously-rated recent version of "Rosemary's Baby") about The Beatles. Michael Hirst, who wrote "Elizabeth" before moving into TV with "The Tudors" and the recent hit "Vikings," is attached to write and executive produce the project. As ever, rights hurdles could be an issue—the band don't give the rights to their songs to everyone, and doing it without them would be a tricky prospect. But it's certainly an intriguing proposition.

Orange Is The New Black
Netflix "Orange Is The New Black"

In other TV news, the excellent Mary Steenburgen is already lined up for a new role on one of our favorite shows (she appeared in the last season of "Justified," and looks set to return to that), and has just bagged another: the Oscar-winning actress has, according to The Hollywood Reporter, signed on for the third season of "Orange Is The New Black." Will she be an antagonist, stepping into the very big shoes of season two's Vee? Or something entirely different? We look forward to finding out, though we'll likely have to wait a year or so.

In less happy news, Deadline report that FX have passed on "Hoke," a drama pilot that was written by "Out Of Sight" and "Minority Report" scribe Scott Frank, and was to have starred Paul Giamatti as 'hardboiled and possibly insane homicide detective' Hoke Moseley, the creation of author Charles Willeford. The Frank/Giamatti combination had us champing at the bit for this, and FX had ordered a pilot, but having already picked up "Tyrant" and "The Strain," and perhaps still burned by the failure of our much-beloved "Terriers," have declined to move forward. Your move, Netflix/Amazon?

Finally, the only remaining reason to watch CBS' "Under The Dome," the presence of comics genius Brian K. Vaughan, has disappeared, as the writer/producer has left the show to focus on his comics work like "Saga" and "The Private Eye." For the best, certainly. But in better news, Hayley Atwell has confirmed that Dominic Cooper will be joining her on the new "Agent Carter" show, reprising his role of Howard Stark (Iron Man's dad) from "Captain America: The First Avenger." Hopefully, they'll also soon announce the participation of Bradley Whitford, who played Carter's asshole boss in the 'One-Shot' short that the show will be expanding on. [THR/AV Club]

This article is related to: The Beatles , Orange is the New Black, Hoke, Scott Frank, Paul Giamatti, Mary Steenburgen, Marvel One Shot: Agent Carter, Dominic Cooper, Under the Dome


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