EXCLUSIVE: The Beeb has zeroed in on their next literary adaptation. The BBC has put into development The Secret Rooms, an adaptation of the gothic novel of the same name by Catherine Bailey, TVWise has learned exclusively.
The Secret Rooms explores the story of John, the 9th Duke of Rutland, who died in mysterious circumstances in a murky room next to the servants’ quarters of his family home, Belvoir Castle. For weeks, as his health deteriorated, everyone pleaded with him to come out, but he refused. After his death, and on his son’s orders, the rooms were sealed. But what lay behind this extraordinary set of circumstances? Uncovered is a dark and disturbing period in the history of the Rutland family, and one which they were determined to keep hidden for over sixty years.
The novel, written by Catherine Bailey, was met with strong reviews/critical reception when it was first published by Penguin imprint Viking in 2012. The adaptation is set up at Scott Free London, the London based division of Scott Free Productions, the indie set up by Ridley Scott and his late brother Tony Scott. Secret Diary Of A Call Girl scribe Rebecca Lenkiewicz is penning the script. I’m hearing that Kevin Macdonald – who previously worked with Scott Free on Life In A Day – has been approached to direct. Ridley Scott will executive produce.
An adaptation of The Secret Rooms has been in the works for quite some time, with Scott Free optioning the rights to the novel earlier this year. I’m told that the plan is to adapt the novel as a one-off ninety minute drama, rather than as a serial or returning series. Sources tell TVWise that the project is in development for BBC Two, though I have yet to hear confirmation on that. Representatives of the BBC did not immediately respond to TVWise’s requests for comment.