Laurence Bowen’s London-based Dancing Ledge Productions has entered into a deal with publisher HarperCollins to adapt the novels of Alistair MacLean as event TV series. The first project under the pact is San Andreas, a thriller set on board a torpedoed WW II hospital ship. Tony Marchant (The Secret Agent) is adapting.

HarperCollins owns the rights to bestselling author MacLean’s novels which also include The Guns Of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare. Each of those was previously turned into a feature. His books have sold over 150M copies since 1955.

Each novel-to-TV project will be structured as a four- or six-part event mini. San Andreas sees the ailing ship attempt to make its way back across the North Atlantic to Scotland while a saboteur picks off members of the crew.

Bowen says, “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.”

Dancing Ledge was formed in June this year with backing from Fremantle Media and a development deal with Martin Freeman. It is currently developing projects for the BBC, Channel 4, A&E, UKTV and Film 4, and is working with Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Dr Who), Dan Sefton (Mr Selfridge), Guy Hibbert (Eye In The Sky) and Simon Block (Home Fires).

Bowen recently produced the Martin Freeman/Anthony LaPaglia-starring The Eichmann Show for the BBC which The Weinstein Co acquired in the U.S. It’s also made series of world premieres of screenplays by Harold Pinter, Arthur Miller, Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock for BBC Radio 4 and starring Hugh Laurie, Mark Strong, James McAvoy, Anne Reid and David Suchet.