Susan Hill's The Small Hand to become Channel 5 drama

Susan Hill's The Small Hand to become Channel 5 drama

Awesome Media & Entertainment and Two Rivers Media have teamed up to adapt Susan Hill’s The Small Hand: A Ghost Story (Profile), about an antique book dealer, for Channel 5 in the first adaptation of a book by the author for seven years.

The project is Awesome’s first book-to-screen commission and also heralds Glasgow-based production company Two Rivers’ move into drama. The two-hour single drama comes to Channel 5 in a “haunting, modern adaptation”. 

It is the first adaptation of a Hill book since The Woman In Black (Vintage) was adapted into a huge feature film in 2012 starring Daniel Radcliffe. The stage adaption of that title continues to run in the West End.

Awesome’s founder Jeff Norton optioned The Small Hand: A Ghost Story and has partnered with Two Rivers Media to mount production in Scotland. Once completed Kew Media Distribution will distribute the drama internationally. In addition to backing from Channel 5, the project has secured major investment from Screen Scotland.


Susan Hill, Jeff Norton and Alan Clements

“The Small Hand” was commissioned by Sebastian Cardwell, commissioning editor at Channel 5. It will be written by Barbara Machin, creator of BBC drama Waking the Dead and directed by Justin Molotnikov, whose credits include: “Doctor Who” and “Merlin”. Awesome producer Jane Steventon alongside Norton as executive producer. Fellow exec producers include Alan Clements for Two Rivers Media, and Mark Thomas for Screen Scotland, along with Hill and Machin. The timing of the show is yet to be confirmed.

The Small Hand, published by Profile in 2010, tells the story of Adam Snow, an antique book dealer who finds himself haunted by the ghost of a young boy. As Adam investigates the strange occurrences, he suffers nightmares as he receives further, increasingly sinister visits from the ghost, ultimately revealing a haunting secret from his own childhood.

Norton said of the project: “Susan Hill’s The Small Hand: A Ghost Story exemplifies our book-to-screen creative strategy; a perfect alchemy of brilliant source material, inspired adaptation, and great production partners. Between Susan Hill’s iconic novel and Barbara Machin’s inspired screenplay, we have developed a haunting, nuanced ghost story that is destined to become a future classic.”

Alan Clements, m.d. of Two RiversMedia, added: “Bringing such a high-profile project to Glasgow, one which should not only excite UK audiences but those around the world, reflects our vision for Two Rivers’ drama. This is a fantastic project and one we cannot wait to start work on.”