EXCLUSIVE: Up-and-coming Brit scribe Jon Croker will adapt Enid Blyton’s classic tale of derring-do The Famous Five for UK production powerhouse Working Title. Blyton, akin to the JK Rowling of her day, is one of the biggest-selling children’s authors in history with global sales of over 600 million books. The Famous Five, with over 20 novels following the adventures of a group of four young children and their dog Timmy, is arguably her most iconic collection of books. It was estimated in 2012 that a Blyton book is sold in the UK every minute.
Croker, a former story editor, has been on a fast-track to much-in-demand writer status ever since he had the screenplays for both The Woman In Black 2: The Angel oOf Death and Freida Pinto-starrer Desert Dancer produced last year. He also received a credit for additional material on StudioCanal’s global hit Paddington. Croker is also penning The Abominable Snowman for Hammer Films.
Deadline first broke the story last year that Working Title had acquired the theatrical rights for the library of books, the first of which was published in 1942 under the title Five On A Treasure Island. The deal was sealed with publisher Hodder, a subsidiary of Hachette, which owns the Blyton estate. Working Title has a history with successfully adapting family brands that include the Nanny McPhee and Johnny English films. As ever, Working Title’s dynamic duo Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan will produce with Fellner overseeing.
The Famous Five are NOT to be confused with the Filipendulous Five, the old, disbanded explorer team that are to be found in Adrienne Kress’ upcoming book The Explorers Club that producer Michael De Luca recently set up at Disney. Particularly given that Blyton’s famous explorers pre-date these new kids on the block by a good six or so decades.
Croker is repped by Independent Talent Group and WME.