Open Mike Productions, the production company behind “Live at the Apollo” and “The Last Leg”, has optioned journalist James Felton’s 52 Times Britain Was A Bellend (Sphere) for a comedy TV series.
The book, a “painfully funny history of Britain you were never taught at school” was senior commissioning editor Emily Barrett’s first acquisition for Sphere after joining the imprint in July. Since publishing 17 days ago, it has sold more than 7,500 copies across all formats according to the publisher.
Open Mike plans to develop a comedy TV series based around and expanding on the book’s content.
Felton, hoping “to get people laughing so much they're tricked into learning history”, will be involved in the project as a creative, writer and consultant.
Andy Thistlewood, head of development for Open Mike, said: “James Felton’s book is laugh-out-loud funny, so naturally we wanted to exploit his genius! James expertly weaves fascinating historical nuggets of Britain’s bellendery with some obscenely funny jokes, so we’re confident that his book will transfer perfectly to TV. Just when we thought we couldn’t be more concerned about Britain’s global reputation, James comes along to show us that we need not worry – Britain has always been a bit of a bellend.”
Barrett added: “James’ book is that wonderful combination of hilarious and informative (with a pinch of self-loathing that we Brits are either excellent at or need to become so as a matter of urgency). I have no doubt it will make perfect comedy television at a time when Britain’s global reputation is under the microscope, and I hope it introduces more people to James’ brilliant book, which we are very proud to publish on the Sphere list.”