ZDF Studios partners with Sly Fox Productions and Julian Unthank to develop new British whodunit drama The Pet Sitter Mysteries 

Mainz, November 2nd, 2023

The Pet Sitter Mysteries (8 x 45’), based on the best-selling novels by Blaize and John Clement, is being developed by ZDF Studios and Sly Fox Productions with writer and creator Julian Unthank (Queens of Mystery, Doc Martin) at the helm.

The eight-part series will be set in Sandbanks on Dorset’s stunning south coast, one of the UK’s most exclusive locations. Home to the mega rich featuring golden beaches, designer houses and yachts captained by loutish Lottery Winners and reclusive billionaires, Sandbanks is crammed full of glamorous, suntanned, excessively wealthy eccentrics. It is also home to Dixie Hemingway, a professional pet-sitter and former policewoman who was forced to resign for reasons she’d rather not to go into. 

Living above her brother’s garage, Dixie attempts to rebuild her life after a personal tragedy by working as a pet-sitter on the sun-soaked peninsula of Sandbanks. But when a body is found in the mansion of one of her clients she can’t help but get involved in the investigation. Using her unique insight into the lives and homes of the residents to solve cunning murder mysteries, she often ends up sparring with handsome Detective Inspector Thomas Hampton. while  the equally good-looking local solicitor Ethan Crane, also develops hopes of winning Dixie’s heart.

The son of a world-famous animal handler and a former animal trainer himself in the film industry, Julian Unthank is the creator of the Emmy(™) nominated Queens of Mystery, an off-beat, Amélie-esque style take on the traditional world of cosy crime. He is a five-season veteran of ITV’s worldwide hit Doc Martin and the writer of the multi-award-winning Oscar(™) short-listed Love at First Sight starring John Hurt.

The Pet Sitter Mysteries will be distributed exclusively by ZDF Studios whose catalogue also includes Queens of Mystery (3 x 90’, 6 x 45’) from Sly Fox Productions, the London-based company founded by award-winning drama producers, Linda James and Tim Vaughan. who’ve been joined by producer, Savannah James-Bayly.

Yi Qiao, Director Drama, ZDF Studios said: “We are delighted to be teaming up again with Sly Fox Productions and Julian Unthank to bring this book series to screen. The Pet Sitter Mysteries promises an irresistible combination of whodunits, romance and soul-searching along with an abundance of adorable pets all set in a beautiful location.”

Julian Unthank, screenwriter, said: “For years I've been looking for a chance to incorporate the knowledge of my former profession with the skills of my current one. So, you can imagine my excitement when I came across Blaize and John Clement’s brilliant best-selling Dixie Hemingway crime novels. Not only are they cleverly plotted with a whip-smart central character but the murder mysteries are sharply written and surprisingly subversive, the perfect formula for a modern, off-beat detective series.”


About ZDF Studios 
ZDF Studios is a commercial subsidiary of ZDF, one of the largest TV broadcasters in Europe. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Mainz, Germany, the ZDF Studios Group operates more than 30 direct and indirect subsidiaries and affiliates in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom spanning TV production, distribution and services. The parent company, ZDF Studios, is responsible for global programme distribution, realisation of international co-productions, acquisition of licences and merchandising of successful programme brands under its own name, for ZDF and third parties. ZDF Studios has the largest German-language programme inventory in the world and a constantly growing range of international productions, consisting of series and mini-series, television films, documentaries and children's programmes. 

The companies of the ZDF Studios Group cover the entire value chain from the development of scripted and unscripted TV content to production, marketing and monetizing, including TV and streaming licences as well as merchandising and online rights. The positioning of ZDF Studios as an integrated media company enables the development of innovative, outstanding and high-quality programmes and makes the Group an attractive workplace for German and international talent to flourish in a very inspiring and creative environment. 

Contact ZDF Studios 
Christine Denilauler (VP Marketing and Corporate Communications), ZDF Studios GmbH, Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1, 55127 Mainz/Germany, Tel.: +49 6131-9911130, e-mail:
christine.denilauler@zdf-studios.com, www.zdf-studios.com