Babylon Pitch

A truck smashes into a crowd of people at the historic Waterloo monument just a few miles outside Brussels, killing students, politicians, members of the press, security people and school children.

In Brussels newly elected Catherine McIntyre from Ireland, the youngest-ever Member of Parliament soon after discovers a disturbing fact about the fatal killings at Waterloo; a journalist knew of the accident minutes before it happened. It was fed to the media. 
     The day after the journalist is missing. 
 

 She is alone with her knowledge. She does not know whom to trust.

Police detective Luke Alexander knows not to trust anyone. Shortly after the accident he is put in charge of the investigation – an investigation nobody wants; neither the Belgian police nor the European politicians. Soon he finds that the Waterloo killings were just the prelude to something much bigger: Inside the wallet of the dead truck driver they find something alarming: A blood-stained handkerchief – both blood and fabric turns out to be from the last half of the 17th century – from the time of the French revolution. A revolution that met its end at Waterloo.

Luke Alexander faces an impossible task. Brussels is the city in the world with most people working under diplomatic immunity. Furthermore many of the buildings in Brussels have the same status as embassies. Whether it is the Parliament or the Commission or one the many national trade delegation offices, Luke has to gain access through the backdoors like the garbage men and catering people.

Along with the prostitutes and petty criminals Luke Alexander moves almost entirely in the back allies of the town - making Brussels into our Babylon; an almost gothic city, a thousand languages, a smooth surface with smiling politicians for the cameras, but a real, dirty and clandestine world operating behind it.

Luke and Catherine soon find themselves in the centre of a conflict as old as Europe itself: Clandestine secret organisations and brotherhoods are fighting over power. One of these networks grew out of the French revolution - a network combating for the freedom of man. The other network is more sinister: An almost impossible labyrinth of offshore holding companies, global finance and dark power. Behind the assembly of Europe run two parallel tracks: One aiming for the liberation of its inhabitants, the freedom to move, live, marry and work and do business anywhere. The other co-existing track also runs on a historic path; that of power over freedom and greed over community - a force aiming at bringing the union to its knees and, again, profiting from a torn, divided Europe. The European Union’s long journey out of the rumble and ashes of The Second World War formed to prevent war in Europe faces a possible collapse. This threatens to peel of the thin layers of civilisation that might even create a theatre of war once again.

 

    

VISION 

BABYLON is a first; there has never been a pan-European based TV series about EU and Brussels. We have a multilingual parliament with a somewhat limited power; a parliament we can barely get the European population to vote for. We have a nearly invisible commission and the largest opaque bureaucracy in the world.

The distance between the individual European citizen and the people working inside the EU-system is enormous. EU’s political and administrative procedures still battle the different national approaches and traditions of exercising power, legislation and economy.

Still…The most vital decisions that influence our lives are conceived in this city and the concentration of power is exceptional.

The question is not whether we should have a TV series about the EU. The question is if we will ever get the population interested in the EU, if we do not have a fictionalised compelling account of what is going on.

This is what fiction can do; it can take your scepticism by the hand and through the magic of entertainment ignite your interest for something you thought dull or had no knowledge of. These are to be crucial years for the EU and the financial crisis cuts to some extent right through scepticism, separatism and nationalism and leave open the prospect of either a stronger union consisting of democratic European states or a conflicted puzzle of divided nation states.

 
In short, it is due time European fiction got involved in this epic struggle. All Europeans share this responsibility - it is exactly this conclusion our leading character reaches at the end: You either join the fight or you do nothing - which is precisely the same thing as handing over the power to the lobbyists, the populist and the corrupt.

  

PROJECT INFORMATION
Genre                                                                    Thriller (Euro-noir)
Format                                                                  TV-series (12 x 52 minutes)
Shooting start                                                     January 2012
Shooting languages                                           the official languages of the EU
Shooting format                                                 HD
Locations                                                             Brussels and other European locations
Production budget per episode                       € 1,5 mill.
Cast                                                                       a strong field of European stars
Director                                                                Oliver Hirschbiegel
Creator                                                                 Anders Rønnow Klarlund
Head writer                                                         Mikael Olsen
Episode writers                                                  David Lawrence & Andrew Bampfield
Producer                                                              Peter Engel
Associate producer                                           Marie Gade

Assistant producer                                            Julie Elmquist E. Neergaard
Partners                                                               EBU, ARTE France, RTE and DR
Executive Producers                                          Peter Garde & Peter Aalbæk Jensen
International financier                                     Noemi Ferrer
International sales agent                                 TrustNordisk
Illustrator                                                            David Drachmann  

 

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