C21: ITV, BritBox check in to Hotel Portofino

ITV and BritBox in the UK have joined a drama set on the 1920s Italian Riviera from Eagle Eye Drama, the fledgling prodco set up by the team behind international drama brand Walter Presents.

Sky Italia and Foxtel in Australia will also air the series, titled Hotel Portofino, while PBS Distribution has taken North American sales rights.

Created and written by Matt Baker, it stars Natascha McElhone (Ronin) as the daughter of a wealthy industrialist who moves to Italy to set up a quintessentially British hotel in the beautiful town of Portofino.

It is produced in cooperation with the Beta Film Group, which also handles world sales. Production services are provided by Drugiplan.

The series, which will shoot this summer in Portofino and along the Croatian coast, also features Mark Umbers (Home Fires), Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings & a Funeral), Daniele Pecci (Orgoglio), Lorenzo Richelmy (Marco Polo) and Rocco Fasano (Skam Italia).

Eagle Eye said the series captures the long-established literary tradition of comic and idiosyncratic British ‘innocents abroad,’ but also reveals darker, more serious storylines, set against the historical backdrop of the rise of Fascism in Mussolini’s Italy.

It is directed by Adam Wimpenny (Blackwood), produced by Julie Baines (Four Kids & It) and executive produced by Jo McGrath and Walter Iuzzolino. ITV’s head of drama, Polly Hill, will oversee production for the UK broadcaster.

Eagle Eye Drama, which was launched last year by Iuzzolino, McGrath and Jason Thorp, described the show as a family drama full of emotional highs and lows, with a classic ‘whodunit’ mystery woven throughout and building to a dramatic climax.


Like Walter Presents, Eagle Eye is backed by Channel 4, which recently aired Before We Die, Eagle Eye’s remake of the Swedish series of the same name adapted by Hotel Portofino creator Baker.

Andrea Downing, president of PBS Distribution, said: “This beautifully crafted series will have viewers immersed in an intensely lush production filled with mystery, intrigue, and drama, all within the backdrop of Portofino, one of Europe’s most magnificent coastal towns.”

Iuzzolino, CEO of Eagle Eye Drama, added: “This is a hugely important and exciting new creative chapter for Eagle Eye; Hotel Portofino is our very first original series, from an idea which was developed in-house. The series was inspired by my hometown and we’re grateful to PBS Distribution who have been incredibly supportive and collaborative partners on this project.”