Virgin Media's pay-TV channel to air drama criticised in US for graphic sex and violence
Mark Sweney guardian.co.uk, Monday 8 March 2010 11.36 GMT
Virgin Media's pay-TV channel Bravo has acquired the rights to the first two series of US drama Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
The drama about the Roman slave revolt in the first century BC, which is executive produced by Sam Raimi and airs on US cable channel Starz, has attracted significant media attention in the US for its graphic scenes of sex and violence.
Spartacus, which stars Four Weddings and a Funeral actor John Hannah and former Xena: Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless, has been compared to a combination of films 300 and Sin City.
Bravo has acquired the UK broadcast rights to first two TV series, as well as seven-day catchup and video-on-demand rights. The second series was given the go-ahead even before the US premiere of the show.
The 13-part series will form the centrepiece of Bravo's summer schedule, although a broadcast date is yet to be set.
"As soon as we saw Spartacus we knew it was the ultimate testosterone-fuelled series guaranteed to put Bravo on the map in its 25th anniversary year," said the Virgin Media TV head of acquisitions, Amy Barham. "Provocative, technically brilliant and brutal, we're positive Spartacus will live up to the hype and controversy."
The show, like previous dramas set in ancient times such as Hercules and Xena, was filmed in New Zealand.