Dancing Ledge Productions has inked a deal with HarperCollins to acquire the TV rights to Alistar Maclean’s series of novels, TVWise has learned.
Scottish novelist Alistair Maclean, who died in 1987, remains one of the biggest-selling authors of all time; having racked up sales of more 150 million. Some of his better know thriller novels include The Guns of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare. HarperCollins controls the rights to all of his novels.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Dancing Ledge to bring Alistair Maclean’s fantastic stories to the screen, and to a whole new audience”, said Katie Fulford, Special Projects Director at HarperCollins Publishers. “HarperCollins is a publishing house with a rich and varied history and Maclean is one of our most treasured authors. We’re committed to ensuring that our heritage brands continue to grow and that we constantly seek new ways to tell these classic stories.”
Dancing Ledge plans to turn Maclean’s novels into a series of high-end TV dramas, which will be structured as a four or six part event series. At present there are no broadcasters attached for these planned Maclean adaptations. The first novel being adapted under this deal is San Andreas, a thriller set on board a torpedoed WW2 hospital ship as it attempts to make its way back across the North Atlantic to Scotland while a saboteur picks off members of the crew. The Secret Agent scribe Tony Marchant is attached to pen the script.
Dancing Ledge Productions was launched three months ago by acclaimed producer Laurence Bowen (BBC Two’s The Eichmann Show) with the backing of FremantleMedia. The indie has a development deal in place with Sherlock and Fargo star Martin Freeman (who also had a starring role in The Eichmann Show) and are working with the likes of Mark Gatiss, Dan Sefton, Guy Hibbert and Simon Block to produce projects for the BBC, Channel 4, A&E, UKTV and Film 4.
“We are lucky to be living and working in a golden age of television drama with a huge demand internationally for high end adaptations and TV events that can be channel defining”, said Laurence Bowen, CEO of Dancing Ledge Productions. “I doubt there are many bookshelves in the UK that don’t have at least one Alistair Maclean thriller, so the opportunity to work with HarperCollins to adapt a number of them for screen is incredibly exciting. If you then add a writer with the talent of Tony Marchant to the mix, we have a wonderful marriage of nail biting action and emotional complexity.”