Ben Wheatley's 'Happy New Year, Colin Burstead' strikes unique deal with BBC, will also be extended into a series

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
Director of the movie Ben Wheatley poses at the premiere of “Free Fire” in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 13, 2017. Picture taken April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Continuing his experimental approach to film distribution, director Ben Wheatley has struck an unprecedented deal with the BBC for his new film Happy New Year, Colin Burstead.

The comedy, which premieres at the BFI London Film Festival in October, will have a brief theatrical release supported by regional Q&As, before it airs on BBC Two over the Christmas period. It will then be available on the BBC iPlayer for 12 months.

The film has a fantastic ensemble of UK acting talent, including Wheatley regulars Richard Glover, Peter Ferdinando, Neil Maskell, Mark Monero and Sam Riley along with Asim Chaudhry, Joe Cole, Charles Dance, Alexandra Maria Lara, Doon Mackichan, Sinead Matthews, Bill Paterson and Hayley Squires.

Happy New Year, Colin Burstead UK Quad (Rook Films)

A press release also confirmed that Wheatley is developing “an extended TV series featuring the same characters for future broadcast.”

Producer Andy Starke says: “It was an amazing experience making the film with such a talented cast and crew and we are extremely pleased to be able to release the film in a way that makes sense of a very complicated releasing landscape – the BBC is the perfect home for Ben’s state of the nation drama.”

Synopsis: The film centres around Colin Burstead (Neil Maskell) who hires a lavish country manor for his extended family to celebrate New Year. Unfortunately for Colin his position of power in the family is under serious threat from the arrival of his estranged brother David.

Shot earlier this year the film holds a mirror to the political and social situation of the country and its place in the world.

Wheatley’s trippy A Field In England also received an unusual distribution, hitting cinemas and Blu-ray/DVD on the same day it aired on Film4. It was also available for people to watch on 4OD (Channel 4’s VOD service, now called All 4) on release day, 5 July, 2013.

Rose Garnett, Head of BBC Films, says: “When Andy and Ben showedHappy New Year, Colin Burstead to me and Shane Allen (Controller of BBC Comedy) we both fell for it. Funny, acute and very human, it’s a film about families at their worst and best, and a perfect bit of alternative Christmas television. We love that it’s home is the BBC.”

Happy New Year, Colin Burstead will debut at BFI London Film Festival. Tickets are on sale now.

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