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Cancelled Emmy winner Abi Morgan back on BBC

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Perhaps the most ironic aspect of this year’s Emmys was the victory of the BBC drama The Hour for Best Writing in a Mini-Series or Movie. The nostalgic drama set in a 1950s newsroom and starring Dominic West was the only British success amongst this year’s crop of winners, but why the irony?? Because the BBC cancelled it after it’s second series, mumbling something about making way for new shows.

And yet today comes the news that creator, writer, and Emmy winner Abi Morgan is to kiss and make up with the corporation. She is set to return to the fold with the commissioning of a new series called River, and possibly to sweeten the deal, the Beeb have assigned a BBC1 rather than a BBC2 slot for the new series.

Morgan, who first came to major attention with her Margaret Thatcher biopic, The Iron Lady will be writing the first run of six episodes around the gifted yet flawed detective John River " whose genius and fault-line is the fragility of his mind". The BBC said the character is "a man who must walk a professional tightrope between a pathology so extreme he risks permanent dismissal, and a healthy state of mind that would cure him of his gift".

Hang on. First of all – is there any detective left on television who doesn’t follow this tortured, conflicted cliché. Luther anyone?? Second of all, didn’t BBC1 controller Danny Cohen, now the BBC's director of television, say that there were too many male detectives in the channel's dramas when he cancelled the interesting Zen starring Rufus Sewell? Is the BBC now reverting to the safe ground of unstable, renegade male detectives rather than period insights into the news?

BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore said: "River is full of intriguing twists and turns and I was truly gripped when the script came in. Abi's one of Britain's most distinctive and original storytellers and her ability to push the boundaries of the genre in surprising ways makes River her perfect debut on BBC1."

Filming will begin next year and it will be screened in 2015.

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