BBC One Orders Kate Atkinson Adaptation ‘Life After Life’

BBC One has ordered Life After Life, a four episode adaptation of the Kate Atkinson novel of the same name.

Life After Life follows Ursula Todd who dies one night in 1910, before she can draw her first breath. On that same night in 1910, Ursula is born and survives. She finds herself time and again, living and dying in different circumstances only to be reborn into a new, alternative iteration of life once more.

This compelling and thoroughly unique story sees Ursula navigating her way through a critical era which spans two world wars, an encounter with Hitler and plenty of major life events. But what is it that Ursula so desperately needs to stay alive for? Each of Ursula’s alternative lives brings new challenges and half memories of what has come before, and with every one, fascinating, joyful, traumatic, witty and surprising experiences and relationships. Having an infinite number of chances to live her life, immense questions emerge: Can you ever lead a perfect life? Can you change the course of history? Can you save the world?

The four episode adaptation is set up at House Productions, the indie set up by Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell that was behind the Channel 4 TV movie Brexit: An Uncivil War. Bash Doran is penning the scripts for all four episodes, while John Crowley is attached to direct. Kate Ogborn is the series producer. The executive producers are Bash Doran, John Crowley, Kate Atkinson, Tessa Ross, Juliette Howell and Lucy Richer. The BBC said that casting would be announced at a later date. Production on the series is set to commence in spring 2021. BBC Studios will handle global sales.

“We feel hugely privileged that Kate Atkinson has entrusted the adaptation of her bestselling, award winning novel Life After Life to House”, said Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell. “We have brought together an immensely talented team who love the novel as we do to: Bash Doran’s scripts brilliantly capture the heart and soul of the novel, the warmth and scale of its world and the extraordinary characters who inhabit it. All human life is here, told through the experiences of Ursula who keeps on dying and being reborn. And in John Crowley, we know we have a wonderful and ambitious director who brings huge heart, gripping storytelling and an extraordinary visual flair to this incredible story. We can’t wait to get started.”