Golden Globe and BAFTA-winning Playground is to co-develop a “premium” drama series of Georges Simenon's novels about ingenious French detective Jules Maigret.
Georges Simenon Limited (GSL) will act as co-production partner on the series. The deal, brokered by GSL and PFD’s Jonathan Sissons, extends to all 75 of the Maigret novels and 28 short stories, which have most recently been published by Penguin. It is the first major global TV deal for GSL since the acquisition in 2020 of 90% of the company by International Literary Properties.
The Inspector Maigret books, along with the rest of the author's work, have sold more than 600 million copies worldwide, according to the companies, and have been translated into more than 50 languages. The books' titular character solves murders using his understanding of human motives and emotional make-up, rather than deductive skills alone.
Playground is the production house behind hits including “Wolf Hall”, “Howards End” and “All Creatures Great and Small”. The adaptation will be executive produced by Colin Callender, David Stern and Scott Huff for Playground, Tim Gerhartz and Rodrigo Herrera Ibarguengoytia for Red Arrow Studios International and John Simenon and Hilary Strong for GSL. Red Arrow Studios International will distribute the series internationally.
Playground’s joint managing directors Huff and Stern said: “Georges Simenon was one of the most prolific crime authors of the 20th century and his seminal creation, Inspector Maigret, remains one of literature’s greatest detectives. It’s a rare opportunity to adapt a work that is both distinctive and timeless and we’re incredibly grateful to the Simenon Estate and for the partnership of Red Arrow as we bring Maigret to a global audience.”
John Simenon, c.e.o. and director of GSL, added: “As the administrator of the various components of Simenon’s IP estate, I am constantly reminded of the rare privilege, and the correponding responsibilities, associated with the management of such an exceptional legacy. It is a challenging mission to reach out, through all media, to the widest potential audience for my father’s works and values, while preserving their integrity as well as his own. In that respect, this very special project is a key opportunity and I look forward to working on it with Playground and Red Arrow.”
Hilary Strong, c.e.o. of ILP and director of GSL, commented: “ILP was formed to acquire IP in the world’s best literary estates, and to work with those estates and their representatives to preserve their legacy and develop them in a way that ensures that wonderful stories like George Simenon’s continue to be re-told by the most talented voices to bring enjoyment for decades to come. I am excited by the opportunity to work with GSL and John Simenon to make this happen.”