TV rights for documentary maker Chris Atkins’ prison diary A Bit of a Stretch (Atlantic) have been optioned by Eleventh Hour Films (EHF).
The book, published today (6th February), follows Atkins’ prison term at HMP Wandsworth after becoming embroiled in a dodgy tax scheme to fund a film. The book’s cast ranges from wily drug dealers to corrupt guards, revealing the reality of life behind bars.
It has now been picked up by Sony Pictures Television-backed Eleventh Hour, the firm behind "Safe House" and "Foyles War", for adaptation in a deal brokered by Luke Speed on behalf of Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown.
EHF creative director Paula Cuddy said: "Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking. This book is a wake-up call, a shocking and surprising insight into modern prison life. I read it in one sitting. With Chris, EHF is delighted to have this exciting opportunity to redefine the prison TV drama."
A lead title for 2020, the book has had two extracts published in the Mail on Sunday, a four-page interview in the Times Saturday Magazine and an extract in the Times T2.
Atkins has been touring TV newsrooms this week commenting on how deradicalisation programmes – and prison in general – are not working.
He said: "I am thrilled to be working with Paula and her excellent team at Eleventh Hour Films. Prison was a dark and traumatic place, but it was also full of humour, humanity and fascinating characters. I can’t wait to bring this surreal and dysfunctional world to screen."