The pair will feature in the six-part series, which is produced by Victoria producer Mammoth Screen, alongside Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance, Absolutely Fabulous’ Jane Horrocks and Star Trek: The Next Generation Colm Meaney. Former Coronation Street actor Elizabeth Tan and rising star Georgia Blizzard will also star.
The Singapore Grip, which was part of Farrell’s Empire Trilogy of novels, which also includes Troubles and The Siege of Krishnapur was originally published in 1978. It tells the story of a British family living in Singapore at the time of the Japanese invasion.
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It follows rubber merchant Walter Blackett, played by Morrissey his wife Sylvia, played by Horrocks, and ruthless daughter Joan, played by Blizzard. However, the story takes a turn when the son of his business partner Mr Webb becomes involved with his daughter Joan before falling under the spell of Tan’s Vera Chiang, a mysterious Chinese refugee. Treadaway stars as the son and Dance plays Mr Webb. Meaney plays Major Brendan Archer.
Elsewhere, Luke Newberry (In The Flesh), Bart Edwards (UnREAL) and Christoph Guybert (Falco) also star.
It is being adapted by Hampton, who wrote feature films including A Dangerous Method, Atonement, The Quiet American and who won an Oscar for Dangerous Liaisons. It will shoot later this year in the Far East and will be exec produced by Mammoth Screen’s Creative Director Rebecca Keane and boss Damien Timmer, who has exec produced Poldark, The Witness For The Prosecution, NW, Parade’s End, Victoria, Endeavour and the forthcoming Vanity Fair. Tom Vaughan (Doctor Foster) will direct all six episodes.
Hampton said, “As a great admirer and, eventually, a friend of J.G.Farrell, I was delighted to be invited to adapt The Singapore Grip, a panoramic account of the disastrous loss of Singapore to the Japanese invaders in 1942. Close analysis of this great novel has only deepened my enthusiasm for the skill with which Farrell has combined the private story of the machinations, commercial and amorous, of the Blackett family and their struggle – described with Farrell’s trademark subversive wit – to preserve and expand their prosperous rubber business with the unfolding of the cataclysmic events to which they remain totally oblivious until it’s too late. Matthew Webb, our bespectacled protagonist, an idealistic innocent abroad, lands in the middle of all this, to find himself fiercely pursued by two beautiful women – an English heiress and a Chinese adventurer – and his story, with its tumultuous backdrop, is told in a style with echoes of Tolstoy and Evelyn Waugh, but still, unmistakably, the unique voice of Jim Farrell.”
Timmer added,“For me, J.G. Farrell and Christopher Hampton is the absolute dream team – two of the finest writers this country has ever produced. Forty years after it was first written, bringing The Singapore Grip to the screen is a passion project for all of us. It’s an exceptionally well-crafted novel which has been adapted with unique flair and mischief by Christopher. It’s a privilege to be making this for ITV, and we hope this hugely entertaining and exotic saga will be a memorable treat for the audience.”
ITV Studios Global Entertainment will sell internationally.
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