BBC Worldwide America’s ‘Sinbad’ Says ‘Open Sesame’ to Syfy

Fantasy series features Timothy Spall, Dougray Scott

Finally, a show with the word "Sinbad" in the title that won't make you think of Jingle All the Way. BBC Worldwide America's Arabian Nights riff Sinbad is coming to NBCUniversal's cable network Syfy in April of next year. The 12-segment series stars Elliot Knight as the eponymous sailor and follows him on his voyages as he evades bad guy Lord Akbari (Naveen Andrews, of Lost) along with the rest of the crew aboard the Providence.

The show is still running in the U.K. on BSkyB, with the final three episodes set to air this month. Impossible Pictures (which also has Primeval to its name—another show that Syfy picked up) is producing the show for BSkyB in association with BBC Worldwide.

Syfy does not have a huge scripted slate ready to go for this coming year, though it does have several projects in development, notably Rewind, which has been ordered to a two-hour pilot (Syfy president Dave Howe is particularly bullish on that one). Defiance, its video game/drama hybrid, is a major investment, and the acquisition of Sinbad will give the network another new property for its primetime lineup without the expense of an original production.

It's a strategy that has served the network well in the past. Syfy aired the Eddie Izzard-starring Treasure Island recently, and had a co-production agreement with U.K.-based producer RHI last year. Silly literary riffs have also found a home at Syfy in a major way: the network broadcast a fantasy version of Moby Dick starring Danny Glover in which the great white whale is a dragon. Sort of has to be seen to be believed.