Late children’s author Mal Peet's final book, The Murdstone Trilogy (David Fickling Books), will be adapted for TV by the dramatist behind Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” for a newly formed production company.
Duchess Street Productions, part of the recently launched media company, the Anthology Group, works with writers to develop and produce authored series and adaptations for television. The first of these pieces will be Poulton’s adaption of The Murdstone Trilogy described by a DFB spokesman as “riotous comedy about book prizes, chat shows, literary festivals and the fantasy industry inspired by Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones”.
The Murdstone Trilogy was Peet’s final novel before his death in 2015 and was the writer’s only novel targeting adult readers. During his career Peet won the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children’s Book Prize and the Branford Boase Award.
Poulton has previously adapted literary classics for the RSC, West End and Broadway including “Wolf Hall”. The Murdstone Trilogy will be his first television venture.
Also in development is a six-part television adaptation of Jonathan Coe’s The House of Sleep (Penguin Random House) by producer Jane Eden. Duchess Street is currently in discussion with broadcasters on both adaptations.
Poulton said: “To adapt the late great Mal Peet’s brilliant black comedy – a hilarious satire on celebrity culture and our current obsession with ‘Phantasy’ literature and film – was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Much darker and funnier than my previous 'Wolf Hall' - even more anarchic than my stage adaptation of Robert Harris’s Imperium, the series defies categorisation.
"I am passionate about putting something on the screen that’s like nothing that’s ever been screened before - so I hope I’ll do justice to Mal’s extraordinary and apocalyptic vision."
David Fickling, head of David Fickling Books, described the book as “one of the most glorious and enjoyable pieces of totally uncategorizable fiction I have ever read”.
He said: “It is wonderfully written, utterly original and has the uncanny and disconcerting ability to produce great gurgling subterranean eruptions of uncontrollable laughter in the reader. To think that this brilliant, hilarious and skeweringly truthful text is going to be dramatized for television makes my heart sing and that it is to be adapted by the best theatre dramatizer in the country, Michael Poulton, has my imagination purring in anticipation. This is one of those projects that everyone should be getting very excited about. It’s going to be the most tremendous fun."
Donna Wiffen, c.e.o. of Duchess Street Productions, added: “It is a privilege to be working on projects of such high calibre with one of the most unique and vibrant voices writing today. We could not be more excited to bring these extraordinary stories to the screen.”