It was during filming of the second series of Spooks, Kudos' hit MI5 drama, that director Bharat Nalluri suggested an idea for a drama series about con artists and in particular the dying art of the long con.
Jane Featherstone, joint MD of Kudos and executive producer of Spooks, took the idea to EastEnders' storylineconsultant,Tony Jordan, to draft some scripts, and to Gareth Neame, Head of Drama Commissioning for the BBC, who had no qualms about commissioning a six-part series. And so Hustle was born.
The innovative and fresh feel that was so evident in Spooks was something Featherstone wanted to replicate and expand upon with Hustle, but the main thing she wanted to achieve was a fun, stylish and totally entertaining drama series.
"Hustle's high-velocity, mould-breaking approach has the same cinematic feel as Spooks," explains Featherstone. "It's original and distinctive, but above all it is never afraid to tell shamelessly entertaining stories, presenting both the audience and the characters with some sexy moral dilemmas and keeping the viewers guessing right to the end."
Says Nalluri: "There are fantastical sequences of dancing in casinos, characters looking and talking straight to camera in a light and intimate way and people freezing mid-action whilst the con artists explain their thinking.The audience is brought into the action and made privy to the hustlers' secrets as a result they become one of the gang."
Spooks and Hustle producer Simon Crawford Collins explains: "I wanted to produce the kind of fun TV drama that leaves you with a big grin on your face. It's an unusual way to live life, but when the team pull off a con we're right behind them smiling at the sheer cheek of it."
Gareth Neame comments: "There's a perennial fascination with con men, tricksters and grifters the way they work and methods we can employ to avoid being ensnared by them.
"So, following on from recent drama successes such as Cutting It and State Of Play, we're delighted to have Hustle, an exciting, innovative and sharp drama series from the team who have made Spooks such a hit for BBC ONE."
Inspired by an idea from Bharat Nalluri (Spooks), Hustle is written by Tony Jordan (Chief Storyline Consultant, EastEnders). Matthew Graham (Spooks, Gentleman Thief) and Ashley Pharoah (Down to Earth, Paradise Heights) complete the writing team.They have also penned episodes of EastEnders alongside Tony Jordan.
The series is directed by Bharat Nalluri, Minkie Spiro and Robert Bailey and produced by Simon Crawford Collins (Spooks). Executive producers are Jane Featherstone (Touching Evil) for Kudos and Gareth Neame for BBC replicating the successful team that brought Spooks to the BBC.