Albert Square meets Arab world with new MBC soap

The drama is by Tony Jordan, the screenwriter and producer of the British series “East Enders.” (Supplied)
Updated 01 August 2019

Albert Square meets Arab world with new MBC soap

LONDON: MBC Studios has teamed up with Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 and Image Nation to produce an Arabic-language soap opera called “Inheritance.”

The soap was created for MBC Studios by Tony Jordan who was lead writer on the UK soap EastEnders, set around the fictional east London neighborhood of Albert Square.

The deal will see a dedicated studio built for the show in Abu Dhabi which will also serve as the main location for filming. 

Media free zone twofour54 will invest directly in the production, and MBC is set to benefit from the Abu Dhabi Film Commission’s 30 percent rebate on production spend in the emirate, the pair said in a statement on Wednesday.




CEO of MBC Studios Peter Smith. (Supplied)

“We are thrilled to have agreed to a long-term production deal — the first of its kind in the Arab world,” said MBC Studios Managing Director Peter Smith.

The show’s backers describe it as the Arab world’s first soap opera because they say that at present, while there are many Arabic drama series, none are scheduled to run indefinitely — a defining characteristic of a soap opera.

“Inheritance” will shoot for more than 250 days of the year, and it is expected to generate over 200 jobs in the first year. 

Maryam Eid AlMheiri, vice chair of twofour54, described the deal as a “landmark moment” in Arab entertainment and cultural history. 

Efforts to create more homegrown Arabic-language drama comes as global video on demand players from Netflix to Amazon eye the Middle East as a potentially lucrative and under-served market.

MBC Digital Managing Director Johannes Larcher last month told Arab News that it was boosting investment in its “Shahid” Arabic-language video-on-demand platform in the second half of the year.

“We have viewers from North America to Europe who are Arab speakers and who want to use Shahid to stay in touch with their countries of origin and their culture,” Larcher told Arab News in an interview.

The development of ‘Inheritance’ is the latest milestone in twofour54’s longstanding partnership with MBC. In 2015, MBC and twofour54 signed a three-year agreement in 2015 to grow the number of quality Arabic drama productions in Abu Dhabi and the region. That partnership produced a broad range of Arabic content, including “Haret El Sheikh,” “Hob Bila Hudood,” season one of “Boxing Girls,” and the first two seasons of “Al-Asouf.”

The first episode of “Inheritance” is expected to air in the first quarter of 2020.


Why now is the perfect time to try a skin resurfacing treatment

Updated 7 min 46 sec ago

Why now is the perfect time to try a skin resurfacing treatment

DUBAI: For many women, the global pandemic provides the chance to introduce some of the stronger ingredients and treatments to one’s skincare routine. Think retinoids, concentrated acids, chemical peels, fractional lasers and the array of skin resurfacing treatments on the market.

The reason for this is, with many practicing social-distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus, no one — except for your family — is around to see your dermis peel off in raw patches while you avoid the sun’s harsh UV rays as you stay indoors and allow your treated skin to recover. 

Those who wish to effectively press the reset button on their dermis during self-isolation can consider a laser treatment. Laser-resurfacing procedures have gained popularity over the past couple of years for their ability to non-surgically smooth fine lines and wrinkles, as well as eradicate imperfections such as post-acne scars and sun damage by emitting light to target water molecules within the collagen layer of the skin. 

“Lasers work to vaporize skin cells thereby removing layers of damaged skin,” said Rebecca Treston, a certified skin expert, who recently launched her “Skinfluencer” protocol menu at the Nakheel Mall branch of Dubai London Clinic, which includes non-invasive skin resurfacing treatments in the form of lasers and chemical peels. 

“In the past two decades, the technology has developed at an exponential rate so this latest generation offers a safe and precise ablation to treat damaged skin,” she said.

Indeed, while undeniably fierce and heavy on downtime, the latest generation of ablative lasers are safe and with minimal risks. Relatively painless — numbing cream is rarely required — some laser treatments, including the one at the Dubai London Clinic, use a cooling technology to prevent feelings of discomfort during the 25-minute procedure.

“I prefer lasers to a chemical peel as they can be more accurately controlled,” Treston said. “Lasers are most commonly used in a fractional beam, which allows the healthy skin surrounding the treatment site to speed up the healing process, leading to less skin trauma and a much quicker recovery.”

Post-treatment, skin is noticeably smoother, tighter and radiant without any swelling or bruising, although some may experience slight redness afterwards and skin may start to flake and peel off in the days after the procedure.

If done regularly — dermatologists recommend at least three sessions a year — treatments can reduce visible signs of ageing and turn back the clock on the dermis.

Skincare experts also suggest avoiding makeup for at least a week after treatment and wearing sunscreen religiously, especially now that lockdowns have begun to ease across the region. Treated skin is more sensitive to the sun, so it is important to apply a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher before leaving the house. 

Skincare experts even suggest wearing sunscreen inside the house, especially if you are near windows and sunlight — and which may prevent future wrinkles from forming in the first place.