Despite the WGA strike, Paramount+ is continuing with announcing projects heading into production. The latest, which the American production studio will make exclusively under its U.K. arm (and therefore with the WGGB, which is not on strike), is The Castaways, based on British author Lucy Clarke's best-selling novel. It is the second drama series commissioned from Clarke's work for Paramount+, joining the previously announced No Escape. It is part of the streaming service's efforts to beef up its international slate since Paramount+'s debut in the U.K.
The new series will adapt Clarke's 2020 bestseller, in which a plane crash forever changes two sisters' lives. Sheridan Smith (Four Lives) and Céline Buckens (Showtrial) are set to play sisters, Lori and Erin, respectively. The series is being adapted by Ben Harris (Young Wallander), who executive produces with Mike Benson of U.K. producer Clapperboard Studios, which regularly makes shows for both Paramount+ and U.K. broadcaster Channel 5. (Parent company Paramount also owns Channel 5.) Filming is set to kick off on location in Greece and Fiji in June, with directors Andy and Ryan Tohill (Dagliesh) set to helm all episodes.
Here's the show's official synopsis:
After they have a huge flight, Lori boards a plane to Fiji, while Erin does not. The flight never arrives at its tropical destination and months later no wreckage has been located. Erin suddenly hears Lori’s credit card has been used on a remote Fijian island and she later recognizes the pilot on CCTV. She boards a plane to Fiji to track down the truth. The show jumps between the perspectives of the two sisters, with Erin undertaking an investigation in the modern day and Lori struggling to survive after surviving a crash on a remote island. The truth about what happened to the plane and its passengers is slowly revealed, with someone willing to kill to keep it secret.
Meanwhile, No Escape, which was initially commissioned back in March 2022, has put out its first trailer along with a May 2023 release date for the U.K. (None of the Paramount+ U.K. slate has American release dates as of yet, something that is expected to change by summer 2023.) No Escape was initially released in 2015 under the title The Blue; Clarke has since republished it under the new name in anticipation of viewers who hadn't read it seeking out the book once the show debuts. A murder mystery whodunit, The Blue is the name of the yacht sisters Kitty and Lana discover during their trip to the Philippines, where the secrets of home catch up with them.
Here's the series' official synopsis:
No Escape follows best friends Lana and Kitty, who are on the run from their lives in the UK. Together they find refuge on a romantic yacht, The Blue, crewed by a group of enigmatic people sailing through South East Asia. But The Blue harbours dark secrets and the paradise the girls thought they had found turns into a nightmare.
The series stars Abigail Lawrie (Good Omens) and Rhianne Barreto (The Outlaws) as sisters Lana and Kity. The series co-stars Sean Keenan (The Power of the Dog), Jay Ryan (Top of the Lake), Jake Macapagal (Halfworlds), Colette Dalal Tchantcho (Dangerous Liaisons), Elmo Anton Stratz (Westwall), Narayan David Hecter (DI Ray), Josh McConville (Elvis) and Susie Porter (Wentworth). No Escape's script adaptation was written by Kris Mrksa (The Murders At White House Farm), with all episodes directed by Hans Herbots (The Serpent).
No Escape will debut on May 18, 2023, on the U.K. version of Paramount+ and is expected to be announced to arrive in the states later this year. The Castaways is expected out in 2024.