EXCLUSIVEColin Callender’s Playground Entertainment has acquired Guardian journalist Patrick Kingsley’s epic forthcoming book The New Odyssey- The Story of Europe’s Refugee Crisis and will use it as the basis to develop and produce a major new TV drama series. Playground, whose credits include the multi-award winning Wolf Hall and The Missing, will develop the project out of its UK office.

Kingsley, a former winner of the Frontline Award for print journalism, has spent many months covering the current crisis as the Guardian’s migration correspondent.  The current migrant crisis, spurred by conflict in Syria, Iraq and Libya as well as other illegal economic migrants seeking a more stable and secure future for their families out of Africa and other parts of the world, has been described as the worst refugee crisis since World War 2.

Kingsley’s book, which will be published later this year, goes behind the headlines and the statistics to humanize the crisis. Throughout 2015, he travelled to 17 countries along the migrant trail, meeting hundreds of refugees making their epic odyssey across deserts, seas, and mountains to reach the holy grail of Europe. His book is an unparalleled account of those voyagers and filled with amazing stories, including riding the trains Syria to Sweden with one migrant; drinking illicit moonshine with a kingpin smuggler and walking with a pregnant Syrian teacher who fears losing her baby as she treks through the Balkans.

The New Odyssey is an epic piece of journalism that provides an intimate account of the people caught up in one of the biggest humanitarian crisis since WW2,” commented Playground creative director Sophie Gardiner. “We believe this can be television at its best – powerful, emotional and compelling storytelling that explores the complexities and human dimensions of the biggest story of our time.”

At a time when certain political figures are advocating the building of walls and banning of entire religions from entering the U.S., this incredibly timely project could offer a chance to re-write the narrative from jingoistic xenophobia to something more profoundly human.