Buffy Gets British Spinoff

ByABC News
July 9, 2001, 5:02 PM

July 9 -- We can see the casting call now. Wanted: British actress schooled in the martial arts, latest fashion, and killer wisecracks for new series. Must bring own wooden stake

Move over Sarah Michelle Gellar, America's hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is crossing the Channel to England, London's Sunday Times reports. The BBC is reportedly working on a British spinoff of the show, which will feature actor Anthony Stewart Head, known to Buffy-philes as her former watcher, Rupert "Ripper" Giles.

Unlike actor James Marsters, who also sports a British accent as Spike on Buffy, Head really is British and reportedly has already returned to England to begin shooting the new series.The spinoff, provisionally titled The Watcher, will delve into the mysterious "Watcher" council that guides and oversees the slayers of the world.

Head, who pooh-poohed the idea of a spinoff of his own to Mr. Showbiz last September at a film premiere, tells the Times that the new series will be similar in tone to the late British mystery series Cracker, which briefly became an American series of the same name.According to the Times, the series will be a darker and more adult version of the teen-oriented American original. However, broadcasts of Buffy and its spinoff, Angel, have been protested in Britain due to their violence and sexuality.

Buffy hatched the series Angel, starring David Boreanaz, in 1999, and next year the Fox Family Channel will unveil a kid-friendlier cartoon series of Buffy.

Buffy, which aired on the WB for five years, makes its debut on the UPN network this fall, while Angel remains on the WB.

Fans on both sides of the Atlantic are awaiting the season premiere of Buffy to see how creator Joss Whedon brings the slayer, who sacrificed herself during last season's finale, back from the dead.