ITV has given the green-light to Brief Encounters, a six episode drama series about the early days of the Ann Summers party plan business which hails from Fay Rusling & Oriane Messina and is based, at least in part, on Jacqueline Gold’s memoir Good Vibrations, TVWise has learned.
Brief Encounters is set in the 1980s and follows Steph, Pauline, Nita and Dawn: four unlikely entrepreneurs who begin to sell exotic lingerie, much to the dismay (and often delight) of their loved ones. The four women are led to Ann Summers for a variety of reasons, including shyness, loneliness and being unappreciated.
The project, which was originally envisioned as a comedy, has been in development at ITV for more than a year, and is based on select chapters of Good Vibrations. Fay Rusling and Oriane Messina created the drama and are penning the scripts for the series, which is set up at CPL Productions. Russling and Messina will also serve as executive producers alongside Arabella McGuigan and Danielle Lux. Casting for the lead roles us currently underway, with production expected to commence next February.
“Brief Encounters is gutsy, emotional, warm and surprising. Like the real Ann Summers saleswomen, through their camaraderie our women discover hidden strengths and an ability to come out fighting no matter what life throws at you”, said CPL Productions’ Arabella McGuigan. “As wives, mothers and businesswomen they unleash talent and ambition – and they blossom. Fay and Oriane have crafted fascinating characters who are both dramatic and funny and we’re sure will appeal to an ITV audience.”
ITV has been heavily re-investing in drama over the past few months as they look to refresh their slate, especially now that flagship drama Downton Abbey has wrapped its run. Brief Encounters will be a key title on the broadcaster’s 2016 drama slate alongside the likes of fellow new commissions Victoria, Marcella, The Good Karma Hospital, HIM, the Cold Feet revival, Jericho, Doctor Thorne and Maigret; as well as returning series Unforgotten, Safe House and Mr Selfridge.
“Brief Encounters is a refreshingly different domestic drama taking us back to the wonderful world of the 1980s,” said ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November, who commissioned the series alongside ITV’s Head of Drama Series Jane Hudson. “We’re really excited by this commission – it’s full of heart, story and great new characters and we’re very much looking forward to working with Danielle Lux, Arabella McGuigan and their production team at CPL.”