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Canada’s Crave buys British crime series “Dope Girls” in pre-sale

EXCLUSIVE: Canadian streamer Crave has acquired the BBC drama series Cool girls.

The Bad Wolf-produced series garnered a lot of attention at recent LA screenings, where a full episode was shown, and Bell Media-owned streamer Crave has now secured local rights from distributor Sony Pictures Television.

We've heard the show will be unveiled in a few minutes as part of Bell's upfront, along with other acquisitions in the U.S. and abroad and a slate of original and returning programming for Crave, CTV and Bell's other English- and French-language networks.

As Deadline revealed last year, Cool girls delves into the history of Soho's criminal underworld between the two world wars and is inspired by Marek Kohn's Dope Girls: The Birth of the British Drug Underground Non-fiction. Set in the early 20th century, it tells of a time when female gangs dominated the clubs, drugs and moonshine sales. It is released in the UK on BBC One and BBC iPlayer and is by Polly Stenham (The face, The Neon Demon) and Alex Warren (Eleanor).

The show has been going on since 2018, when Bad Wold co-founder Tranter met Stenham about another project, but she was amazed to hear how the nightclub scene in Soho boomed in the 1920s, with 150 such clubs in operation during the almost Prohibition-like period. Julianne Nicholson (Mare by Easttown) and Eliza Scanlen (Sharp objects) lead the cast. Umi Myers, Eilidh Fisher and Geraldine James also have key roles.

Cool girls is a great streaming title,” said Justin Stockman, vice president of content development & programming at Bell Media, who is responsible for all English-language programming for the Canadian network giant.

Bad Wolf pursued a pilot strategy based on the US model in Cool girls by completing the first episode months before the rest of the show so that it could be sold at the TV screenings in London and LA. Jane Tranter, who directed the Doctor Who And His dark materials Producer, told Deadline at the time that this was a first for the Sony-backed indie producer and was driven by the needs of the current drama market.