'De Twaalf', the Belgian original.

Foxtel has backed the development of drama The Twelve, which follows a murder trial from the perspective of the jurors, to be produced by Warner Bros. Television International Australia and Liz Watts’ new venture Spirit Pictures.

Based on the Flemish-language Belgian series of the same name (De Twaalf), the 10-parter will follow the 12 ordinary people selected for jury duty in a murder trial in which a woman stands accused of killing a child.

Per the synopsis, the jurors bring their own baggage and myriad perspectives to the court room, ultimately showing “the fragility and imbalances of the law, and the chaotic and flawed way we attempt to determine justice in our society.”

The series marks WB’s first move into TV drama in Australia, after factual and entertainment fare such as Who Do You Think You Are?, Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor and The Masked Singer.

The Twelve also marks Liz Watts’ first series under new banner Spirit Pictures. Her previous company Porchlight Films officially ended operations in June, though it still has several projects on the boil such as Preppers and Fisk for the ABC.

The executive producers are Michael Brooks and Hamish Lewis from WB, Watts from and Foxtel’s executive director of television Brian Walsh. The writing team is yet to be announced.

The series is the first for Foxtel since the Federal Government announced in September that its current obligation to allocate 10 per cent of revenues on its drama channels towards local content would be halved.

However, Walsh has assured that Foxtel’s commitment to local programming has not waned, flagging it was to invest in crime drama to replace Wentworth to IF in October, as well as two other projects.

“In one of the most challenging of times for our industry there has never been a more important moment to consolidate our energies, talent and passion, and reaffirm our commitment to local drama. We have been looking for the ideal vehicle to replace our popular series, Wentworth, and we have every confidence that The Twelve will continue the tradition of bringing gripping Australian drama to the screen,” he said.

“The series takes on the crime genre through the lens of jurors. It is a bold and fresh approach to the classic murder mystery story and will boast a big ensemble cast and an equally impressive team of writers and creatives. We look forward to working with Michael Brooks, Hamish Lewis and the team at Warner Bros. International Television in Sydney, and Liz Watts at Spirit Pictures.”

Brooks, managing director of Warner Bros. International Television Australia, said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Foxtel on The Twelve, which will mark the launch of our domestic drama business. Warner Bros. is committed to telling Australian stories and working with the incredible creative talent we have in this country. Our partnership with Liz Watts at Spirit Pictures is the first of many to come and we are excited to work alongside Brian Walsh and the wonderful team at Foxtel.”

The Flemish original, created by Sanne Nuyens and Bert Van Dael and produced by Eyeworks Films & TV Drama for broadcaster Eén, premiered at Canneseries. It sold to SBS in Australia, and is still available to watch on SBS On Demand.

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