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Furious Spanish TV channel threatens BBC with legal action over allegations it plagiarised much-loved Ministry of Time series with new drama of same name  – Olive Press News Spain


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SPANISH public broadcaster RTVE has accused its British counterpart of attempting to steal the idea for one of its most successful TV series.

The makers of hit TV series El Ministerio del Tiempo (The Ministry of Time) have furiously hit out at the BBC over the uncanny similarities between their new series The Ministry of Time.

Creator Javier Olivares insisted that the BBC ‘explain’ its new series, featuring identical titles and eerily similar plots, adding that RTVE’s legal team has been working on this issue ‘since Friday’ (Feb 23).

Just days earlier, on Wednesday, February 21, the BBC had announced a ‘new drama based on Kaliane Bradley’s hotly anticipated debut novel of the same name’ to be adapted by Alice Birch.

The British broadcaster made no mention of the Spanish TV series when announcing their own The Ministry of Time, instead citing their source material as a yet-unpublished novel that will be released on May 14.

The BBC announced they have commissioned a new drama based on Kaliane Bradley’s (left) debut novel of the same name, adapted by Alice Birch (right)

Its plot revolves around a government time travel department that gathers figures from throughout varying times in British history and the relationships they form.

Meanwhile, the plot for El Ministerio del Tiempo, an original TV series that ran for four seasons between 2015 and 2019, also revolves around a secret government time travel agency.

The story follows a team of agents from different periods in Spanish history as they investigate and stop individuals who travel through time to try to change historical events.

“Someone has scored a goal – and an own goal – against the BBC,” Olivares wrote on Twitter during a series of diatribes against the British public broadcaster.

“I’m surprised that no one from the BBC knew the series, because it aired on Netflix UK.

“If you go to Google and type Ministry of Time, it comes up among the first things.”

He added there was a ‘review of the book (January 1) that already talks about the obvious similarity.’

“I don’t know how the matter will be resolved and I wish all the strength and luck to TVE,” he said on Sunday.

READ MORE: WATCH: American expat in Spain is devastated after being mocked by ‘fatphobic’ Spanish TV presenters

Olivares has already previously sued American broadcaster CBS over their 2016 production Timeless, which also faced plagiarism charges.

Despite the screenwriters claiming theirs was an ‘original work’, they settled out of court in May 2017.

Author Bradley came out in defence against the allegations of plagiarism, claiming it was all an ‘unfortunate coincidence.

“My debut novel, The Ministry of Time, published this May, is an original work of fiction,” she said through her publisher.

“I have never seen the Spanish television series and the identical titles are an unfortunate coincidence.”

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The case echoes the controversy of Suzanne Collins’s series of novels that went on to become the Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence.

The premise of those novels was eerily similar to the Battle Royale movies from Japan.

Both stories depict young people forced to fight to the death in a televised event.

Despite the similarities, Collins has consistently denied directly drawing inspiration from Battle Royale and no legal action was ever initiated. 

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