The U.K. edition of “The Masked Singer” has wrapped filming on season two and is now in post production, Variety can reveal.
Produced by Argonon-backed Bandicoot TV, the hit singing competition debuted on ITV in January and drew a fully consolidated audience of 6.6 million (32% share). Cameras rolled on the show in September at Bovingdon Studios, just outside London.
While there were concerns around how “The Masked Singer” would navigate production during the pandemic, the show is believed to have been among the first entertainment programs allowed to film with a live audience in place post lockdown. The production crossed the finish line just in time, as the U.K. is poised to face a fresh set of COVID-19 restrictions in the coming days, though it’s still unclear to what extent film and TV production will be impacted.
“The Masked Singer” premiered on ITV on Jan. 4 and ran for eight weeks, with former Girls Aloud group member Nicola Roberts (Queen Bee) winning the competition. While actor Ken Jeong, who features in the Fox competition, was signed up to reprise his role on the U.K. judges panel, travel restrictions due to coronavirus saw him replaced with British comedian Mo Gilligan.
Elsewhere, Argonon has also wrapped production on Leopard Pictures’ “Worzel Gummidge.” The hour-long program, commissioned by the BBC and entitled “Saucy Nancy,” was one of the first major U.K. dramas to go into production after lockdown.
Delivery is expected before Christmas, ensuring the show’s slot on the public broadcaster’s all-important holiday schedule. Based on the books by Barbara Euphan Todd, “Worzel Gummidge” — which first debuted last Christmas — is produced by Leopard Pictures partnering with Treasure Trove Productions and Lola Entertainment for BBC One. “The Office” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor Mackenzie Crook scripted and directed the drama, and also stars as Worzel.
The cast also includes Shirley Henderson (“Harry Potter”) as Saucy Nancy and Vanessa Redgrave (“The Thirteenth Tales”).
Elsewhere, Argonon looks to further expand into the U.S. via Leopard USA, producers of HGTV’s “House Hunters International.” The production company has struck multiple paid development deals for true crime projects, docuseries and formats with networks including Freeform, Lifetime and Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Lindsay Schwartz recently boarded the company as chief creative officer, based on the West Coast, and Mitchell Parness is set to join Schwartz as director of development.
James Burstall, CEO of Argonon, said: “With over 150 hours of programs in production or post-production across the second half of this year, we’re cautiously optimistic about the creative sector in 2021. The brilliant teams at Leopard Pictures and Bandicoot TV have produced rigorous and extensive protocols to ensure that safe production could successfully proceed across our high end scripted and entertainment projects.
“In the U.S., Leopard USA’s new slate of projects in paid development underlines our ambition to significantly grow our content footprint and work with new partners in North America.”
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