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Sky Re-enters ‘Tunnel,’ Wants ‘Gone’ by Lennie James

Variety logo Variety 1/20/2017 Robert Mitchell
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Sky has commissioned two new Sky Original Productions for Sky Atlantic: a third season of “The Tunnel” and the new drama “Gone,” created and written by “Walking Dead” actor Lennie James.

“Gone” will be directed by Nick Murphy and is produced by World Productions (“Line of Duty”). Suranne Jones and Stephen Graham co-star. James is currently starring in “The Walking Dead’s” seventh season on AMC, which is on its mid-season hiatus. Graham can be seen in “Taboo,” alongside Tom Hardy, on BBC One in Britain and on FX in the U.S.

Set on a southeast London housing estate, “Gone” tells the story of Nelson “Nelly” Rowe, a charmer and chancer who is the life and soul of his local bar. When he is falsely accused of a terrible crime, he determines to clear his name and find the real perpetrator. The journey makes him confront his careless past but also offers a chance for redemption, though Nelly faces the painful reality that the worst thing happening to someone he loves might be the best thing that has ever happened to him.

“Everyone knows someone like Nelly,” said James of the central character, describing Nelly as someone who “never really grew up and has wasted who he could have been. They are usually the cautionary tale. They are almost never the hero.”

Jones plays an old flame whom Nelly shared a summer of love with 13 years earlier. Graham’s role has not been revealed. Simon Heath and Jessica Sykes serve as executive producers for World Productions, with international distribution handled by Sky Vision.

“Lennie James has mixed a gripping mystery with utterly unique characters,” said Anne Mensah, head of drama for Sky. “‘Gone’ exemplifies the originality we aim for on Sky Atlantic.”

“The Tunnel” (pictured) will return for a third and final season titled “The Tunnel: Vengeance.” Stars Stephen Dillane, who won an International Emmy in 2014 for his role in the first season of the crime thriller, and Clemence Poesy will reprise their roles as detectives Karl Roebuck and Elise Wasserman.

“Law & Order: UK” writer Emilia di Girolamo has written the six-part final season, which is set in Europe amid hysteria around a refugee crisis, the increased threat of terrorism and the growing power of far-right groups. The British and French detectives find themselves faced with a pair of adversaries whose crimes employ increasing dark and desperate measures designed to provoke the police into collaborating on their desperate endgame.

“In ‘The Tunnel: Vengeance’ we return to our incomparable detective duo examining questions which politically couldn’t be more pertinent,” said Mensah. “This final installment will be the perfect ending to the emotional journey we’ve been on across three fantastic series.”

“The Tunnel: Vengeance” is executive produced by Manda Levin and Karen Wilson for production company Kudos. It is produced by Toby Welch and directed by Anders Engstrom and Giles Bannier. Endemol Shine International handles international distribution.

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