EXCLUSIVE: Peter Ackroyd’s The History of England is headed to the screen after Pulse Films optioned the fiction and non-fiction rights to the epic six-part book series.

The author has published five of the six planned books, which cover topics from Stonehenge to Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, William of Orange’s accession through to the Regency era, the Battle of Waterloo and the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. The five books are Foundation, Tudors, Rebellion, Revolution and Dominion, which has just been published. The sixth book is set to be published in 2021.

The books are published by Pan MacMillan in the UK and St Martin’s Press in the U.S. Pulse Films is represented by Scott Lonker at CAA and the deal was negotiated by Tim O’Shea on behalf of Pulse Films and agent Lucy Fawcett at Sheil Land Associates. Pulse Films is best known for feature documentaries such as XY Chelsea, Nick Cave’s 2000 Days On Earth and LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up and Play the Hits as well as recent Sundance hit Skate Kitchen and feature film American Honey. It is currently working on its first major TV drama, Gangs of London for Sky Atlantic and HBO’s Cinemax, having set The Nun director Corin Hardy to helm three episodes.

Ackroyd, who previously presented three-part documentary London for the BBC, said, “I’m delighted to be working with the team at Pulse Films. Their approach to the books is a distinctive take on documentary drama storytelling and I am so looking forward to seeing how the development proceeds.”

“We are thrilled to be bringing Peter’s vision and extraordinary story-telling to life as an epic multi-series for television. The History of England series will not only help redefine the historical genre, but will do so for a truly global audience. Winning the race to secure this sought after IP and matching it with top director talent reinforces our studios core strategy to push the boundaries of what fiction and non-fiction television can be,” added Pulse Films CEO Thomas Benski.