First Arabic soap opera being produced in Abu Dhabi

Twofour54, MBC Studios and Image Nation Abu Dhabi to produce the show which is expected to air in 2020
Tony Jordan is behind creating some of BBC hit EastEnder's best loved characters and planning some of the most iconic storylines in the show's history.
Tony Jordan is behind creating some of BBC hit EastEnder's best loved characters and planning some of the most iconic storylines in the show's history.

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Twofour54 Abu Dhabi, MBC Studios and Image Nation Abu Dhabi are set to produce the world’s first Arabic-language soap opera ‘Inheritance’.

Under the agreement, a dedicated studio will be built for the show in Abu Dhabi which will serve as the main location for filming.

Twofour54 will invest directly in the production, and MBC is set to benefit from the Abu Dhabi Film Commission’s 30% rebate on production spend in the Emirate.

Both parties will work closely with Image Nation Abu Dhabi on talent and script development for the project.

The show’s unique format sets it apart from other Arabic shows in the region, the producers said in a press statement.

By definition, a soap opera is an open-ended narrative that continues with multiple story lines for years - in some cases, decades.

At present, while there are many Arabic drama series, none are scheduled to run indefinitely.

Anchoring a long-term production in the UAE will have a significant positive impact on Abu Dhabi’s thriving media and production industry.

The soap opera is slated to shoot for more than 250 days of the year, and the production team estimate the show will generate over 200 jobs in the first year alone.

‘Inheritance’ is expected to act as a magnet, creating the demand and work that will attract new companies to Abu Dhabi to support the development of a landmark production.

H.E. Maryam Eid AlMheiri, vice chair of Twofour54 said: “Over recent years, Twofour54 has worked tirelessly to enhance the film and TV industry and attract talented filmmakers, writers, and actors to consider Abu Dhabi as a filming location. It’s imperative that these talents are supported by world-class infrastructure, regulations, and services. This is what we have aimed to do at Twofour54, and our work with some of the biggest global content producers – from Disney to Netflix – is testament to our thriving ecosystem.

Peter Smith, Managing Director – MBC Studios said: “We appreciate Image Nation’s support and resources to nurture the regions talent. These soaps are labour intensive and collectively we view this agreement as a long-term opportunity to rapidly develop aspiring production professional through extensive training of local cast, crew and writers. When it comes to producing key long-running shows in Abu Dhabi, this is only the beginning.

‘Inheritance’ was created for MBC Studios by British writer and showrunner Tony Jordan.

During his time on BBC 1’s long running soap EastEnders, Jordan was responsible for creating some of the show’s best loved characters and planning some of the most iconic storylines in the shows history.

Jordan said: “One of my long-held ambitions has been to create and help develop major drama projects outside the UK, this project is truly ground-breaking and I think we’ve created something really special”.

The development of ‘Inheritance’ is the latest milestone in twofour54’s longstanding partnership with MBC.

In 2015, both parties signed a three-year agreement to grow the number of quality Arabic drama productions in Abu Dhabi and the region.

This has resulted in a broad range of Arabic content, including ‘Haret El Sheikh’, ‘Hob Bila Hudood’, season one of ‘Boxing Girls’, as well as the first two seasons of critically acclaimed series ‘Al Asouf’.

Principal photography on ‘Inheritance’ will begin in December, with the first episode expected to air in the first quarter of 2020.

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