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.


Georges Chakra politicizes couture in an ode to Lebanon

Georges Chakra continuously unveils his aesthetic concepts through his couture shows during fashion weeks. (Supplied)
Updated 21 January 2020

Georges Chakra politicizes couture in an ode to Lebanon

  • The 47-piece offering was an extravagant ode to the Beirut-born designer’s home country of Lebanon, where nation-wide protests have been ongoing for the past couple of months

PARIS: Lebanese Georges Chakra presented his Spring 2020 couture collection at Paris’ Petit Palace on Monday. The 47-piece offering was an extravagant ode to the Beirut-born designer’s home country of Lebanon, where nation-wide protests have been ongoing for the past couple of months.

Lebanese Georges Chakra presented his Spring 2020 couture collection at Paris’ Petit Palace. (Supplied)

Placed on each of the guest’s seats along with the show notes was a synthetic white rose accompanied by a note that read “un rose pour la liberte,” which translates to “one rose for freedom.”

Placed on each of the guest’s seats along with the show notes was a synthetic white rose which read “one rose for freedom.” (Supplied)

The message? Fashion is an act of resistance. Chakra wanted to create the real-life looks that reflected the sophisticated and rebellious nature of Lebanese women. These included a show-stopping lineup of striking eveningwear in a burst of white, hot pink and blue color palettes.

Chakra’s brand signature combines elaborate and intricate back details coupled with modern and bold fabrics. (Supplied)

The glimmer-creating Japanese app Kirakira, which turns anything sparkly into a disco ball–like reflection of shine and shimmer, was the preferred medium for capturing Chakra’s runway today — and rightly so. There were plenty of crystal and sequin embellished pieces on the runway that will surely hit the red carpet soon. 

There were plenty of crystal and sequin embellished pieces on the runway that will surely hit the red carpet soon. (Supplied)

Standout looks included a pink, strapless satin duchesse dress that was short at the front and long at the back and boasted a violet floral print, an asymmetrical gown that featured dashes of sequins in varying hues of green, an icy blue sheath dress with an organza train and a hand-painted blue-grey gazar dress with a fan shaped neckline.

Chakra wanted to create the real-life looks that reflected the sophisticated and rebellious nature of Lebanese women. (Supplied)

You can picture his longtime client US actress Janina Gavankar looking devastating on the red carpet wearing the bright pink slit dress with a criss-cross neckline and long train. Or his new client, actress Nina Kiri, who wore one of his creations to the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 20, in the strapless, aquamarine satin dress with a high slit.

Chakra began his work in a war-clad Beirut, after he graduated from Canada. (Supplied)

As is customary, the last look was the bridal look. The off-the-shoulder wedding dress was accessorized with a glittering emerald and diamond necklace made by Lebanese jeweler Fawaz Gruosi. In addition to the striking sartorial lineup, the necklace will also be available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds going to Beirut’s Children's Cancer Center of Lebanon and scholarships at the Ecole Saint Vincent de Paul.