Hillbilly Television Options Claire McGlasson’s Debut Novel ‘The Rapture’

Months ahead of it’s publication, and after fending off fierce competition, Hillbilly Television has closed a deal to option the rights to Claire McGlasson’s debut novel The Rapture.

The Rapture is set to be published by Faber & Faber next June after they pre-empted publishing rights in a “major deal” last September. The debut novel from ITV News journalist Claire McGlasson is set in 1920s Bedford and tells the story of a real life cult.

Hilbilly has a long track record in producing high-end TV drama. Some of the indie’s more recent productions in this space includes one-off sci-fi drama Space Age for Sky Arts’ Playhouse Presents strand, ITV’s Brighton-set police drama The Level and co-production Loaded for Channel 4 and AMCLoaded has also recently been acquired by Netflix. Hillbilly was co-founded by Polly Leys and Kate Norrish (picture above, right).

“Hillbilly feels like the perfect fit for a story about femininity and power”, author Claire McGlasson said in a statement. “Kate and Polly have an incredible vision for my novel and are passionate about championing women in their industry. I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with them.”

“We fell in love with Claire’s wonderful novel the minute we read it. At Hillbilly, we seek out projects that offer up something different – a fresh perspective, characters we’ve not seen before, stories that offer a sideways glance at the world”, Hillbilly co-founder Kate Norrish commented. “The Rapture offers all of this and more”.

While fellow co-founder Polly Leys added: “Hillbilly has a great track record in producing distinctive TV drama with international appeal. We’re delighted that Netflix’s acquisition of Loaded will bring the show to a global audience. Our next challenge is to keep up this level of achievement and we believe we’ve found the perfect vehicle in The Rapture. It has everything: a mesmerising but unknown story based on real events, written by a writer of rare talent. We can’t wait to bring it to life on screen.”

Here’s the full synopsis for The Rapture: “It is 1926 in the UK market town of Bedford. A woman calling herself Octavia and claiming to be the Daughter of God is gathering followers, who take up houses enclosing a garden in Bedford that they believe to be the original site of Eden. The Great War of 1914-18 has claimed countless husbands and sons, leaving many women alone, lonely and ready to find hope in Octavia’s Panacea Society. But one young member of the new cult, in which members are required to spy on each other and report even the smallest transgression, isn’t there by choice. Surrounded by people yet utterly alone, Dilys starts to untangle the truth from the lies…”