James McAvoy to Narrate U.K. Reality Show ‘The Bridge’

“His Dark Materials” star James McAvoy is set to narrate a new reality competition show for U.K. broadcaster Channel 4, in which a group of strangers is tasked with building a bridge to reach an island.

“The Bridge” marks one of the first unscripted endeavors for the “Split” actor, whose voice work spans feature films such as “Gnomeo & Juliet” and “Watership Down.” McAvoy will narrate all five episodes of the show, which sees 12 strangers come together in the British countryside to win £100,000 ($131,000).

However, the prize lies out of reach on an island 250 meters away from where the contributors are based, and to reach it, they must work together to build the bridge in 20 days. If the group successfully works as a team and reaches the cash before the deadline, overcoming various twists in the process, each will get a vote on who they think is the most deserving of the prize. The winner then faces the choice of splitting the money or keeping it for themselves.

Based on a format originally created by Banijay Ibera-backed Zeppelin, the show is being produced by Manchester-based Workerbee. It is currently filming in the British countryside, though Channel 4 has not told Variety its exact location.

Commissioned by Channel 4 Entertainment — one of the department’s first major reality undertakings in recent years since survival series “Eden,” and the first for new head of entertainment Phil Harris — the series will air later this year.

Harris said, “The brilliant Workerbee have conjured up the entertaining twists, comedy and drama viewers associate with classic Channel 4 reality, against what might be considered a traditionally more factual backdrop.”

Steve Handley, commissioning editor at Channel 4, added: “Filmed in the backdrop of the wide open spaces of the glorious U.K. countryside that many of us have been dreaming of in recent months, this entertaining and utterly engaging new reality series is bound to start many conversations about just how far we would each go to secure £100K.”

Rick Murray, managing director of Workerbee, called the series “an innovative and ground-breaking factual entertainment format.”

“Pulling together a show of this nature and scale in the current environment has been no mean feat but we’re raring to go and it is going to be fascinating to see if this cross section of people can work as a team even after months of lockdown,” added Murray.

Michelle Chappell, creative director for Workerbee, said making the show during a global pandemic has been an “incredible achievement, but nowhere near as mind-boggling as building a bridge to win £100K.”

“The Bridge” was commissioned for Channel 4 by Handley and Harris. Executive producers include Murray, Chappell and Warren Smith.

“The Bridge” made its international debut in Spain in 2017 and aired for two seasons on Movistar Plus’s #0 where it is known locally as “El Puente.” The format also sold to France with commercial broadcaster M6.

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