EXCLUSIVE: Black Mirror and Peterloo star Maxine Peake is attached to front a British drama about the murder of a young woman and her mother’s fight to get the 800-year-old double jeopardy law revoked.
Peake, who recently starred in Hulu and Channel 4 comedy drama The Bisexual, is attached to star in Reasonable Doubt from Duchess Street Productions, the scripted production company run by former Fremantle worldwide drama chief Donna Wiffen.
Reasonable Doubt is the story of Ann Ming’s battle to change the double jeopardy law in the UK after her daughter Julie Hogg was killed by Billy Dunlop in 1989. She subsequently wrote a book, For The Love Of Julie, about the experience. Peake is set to star as Ming in the project, which is in development with Duchess Street. Susan Everett, who has previously written for BBC Welsh crime drama Hinterland, has penned a script.
The project is one of a number of dramas being developed by the indie, which is backed by Anthology Group, the production group set up by investment firm Bob & Co. last year.
It is also adapting The Murdstone Trilogy and Jonathan Coe’s The House of Sleep.
Playwright Mike Poulton is behind the adaptation of Mal Peet’s cult classic The Murdstone Trilogy, a comedy about book prizes, chat shows, literary festivals and the fantasy industry inspired by Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.
Poulton said that the chance to adapt the black comedy was an “offer I couldn’t refuse”. “Much darker and funnier than my previous Wolf Hall – even more anarchic than my stage adaptation of Robert Harris’s Imperium, the series defies categorisation,” he added.
Meanwhile, Coe’s The House of Sleep is being remade as a six-part series by The Split and Fortitude writer Jane Eden. The House of Sleep uses the notion of sleep to re-invent the relationship drama with all the intrigue of a compelling psychological thriller.
Coe called the TV remake a “brilliant re-imagining” of his novel. “[Jane] has taken its original themes – ambiguities around sleep and gender – and infused them with new relevance and new energy, weaving them into a compelling narrative tapestry. I can’t wait to see her unique vision of The House of Sleep brought to the screen,” he said.
Duchess Street is currently in discussion with broadcasters on these projects.
Duchess Street Productions CEO Donna Wiffen added, “It is a privilege to be working on projects of such high calibre and with two of the most unique and vibrant voices writing today. To be working with Mike Poulton on his first adaptation for television demonstrates Duchess Streets’ commitment to work with the very best writers to create these authored drama series. We could not be more excited to bring these extraordinary stories to the screen.”