As Africa’s most-loved storyteller, there’s no question that DStv particularly relish pairing South Africa’s leading talent with best of the best internationally; as it’s the case with ‘Reyka‘, which has roped in the very talented SA-born actress Kim Engelbrecht as the no-nonsense criminal profiler, the series’ protagonist Reyka Gama.
The former ‘Isidingo’ actress is brilliantly paired with acclaimed British actor Iain Glen (‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Downton Abbey‘), who plays her antagonist, a farmer named Speelman.
To understand the sort of scale DStv goes for when commissioning a drama series, look no further than the globally acclaimed Deon Meyer’s Trackers, its co-production with HBO’s sister channel Cinemax and ZDF in 2019. Outside of SA, where it outperformed both local and international favourites on M-Net such as the ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Big Little Lies’, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and ‘The Enemy Within‘, the series went on to receive great reviews in US, Australia, France, and the UK.
In the case of ‘Reyka‘, DStv went a notch up and has assembled some of the world’s most revered television producers, in the form of Serena Cullen of Serena Cullen Productions in the UK (‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover‘, ‘Cold Feet‘), and Harriet Gavshon for Emmy nominated Quizzical Pictures in South Africa and Rohan Dickson.
Yolisa Phahle, Nkateko Mabaso, Allan Sperling, Jan du Plessis will executive produce for M-Net, and Julie Hodge for Fremantle, which is also tasked with distributing the show globally.
Reyka; supporting cast, plot, and more
Thanks to its brilliant plot and world-class acting, ‘Reyka‘ has already created a buzz on global stages, case in point being its world premiere on June 18 at the 60th Monte-Carlo Television Festival, where it received rave reviews from audiences and film critics alike.
‘Reyka‘ follows a flawed but brilliant criminal profiler, Reyka Gama. Haunted by her past, she investigates a string of brutal murders committed by a serial killer in the sugar cane fields of KwaZulu-Natal.
Having been abducted as a child by a farmer named Speelman, Reyka is traumatised by the experience but this also helps her enter the minds of Africa’s most notorious criminals and turn them inside out.
Manipulative and charming, Speelman’s hold on Reyka, 20 years later, forms part of the backbone of the story, as does Reyka’s relationship with her mother Elsa, played by Anna-Mart van der Merwe (‘Binnelanders’, ‘Kanarie’ and ‘Poppie Nongena‘).
As producers best put it, ‘Reyka‘ exposes the secrets and lies, truth and trust, damage, healing and forgiveness. With a dramatic backdrop of sugar cane fields, tropical beaches, stifling heat, dangerous wildlife, a criminal underworld, and shadowy politics – each place is connected by sugar but divided in so many other ways.
The trio (Kim Engelbrecht, Iain Glen and Anna-Mart van der Merwe) is joined by an equally talented cast of some of South Africa’s beloved actors, namely Thando Thabethe, Hamilton Dhlamini, Kenneth Nkosi, Nokuthula Ledwaba, Desmond Dube, Gerald Stein, Ian Roberts, Fiona Ramsey, David Butler and Jessica Hayes.
Directed by Zee Ntuli (‘Hard to Get‘) and Catharine Cooke (‘The Girl from St Agnes‘), the acclaimed African crime-drama premiers at 8pm on Sunday (July 25) on M-Net (DStv channel 101). For updates and more, visit ‘Reyka‘ webpage on mnet.tv.