EXCLUSIVE: British drama producer Slim Film + Television has teamed with Luther creator Neil Cross’ New Zealand-based production company on an adaptation of Stacy Gregg’s Pony Club Secrets books.
Slim Film + Television, run by former Kudos Managing Director Simon Crawford Collins, has partnered with Libertine Pictures, which is behind Rose McIver-fronted feature Daffodils, on 13-part series Mystic for the BBC’s CBBC, Australia’s Seven and New Zealand’s TVNZ.
The environmental thriller, which will start filming in New Zealand in January 2020, is a character-driven thriller for a family audience. The drama follows a group of horse-mad teenagers who are regulars at their local stables on the fictional peninsula of Kauri Point, New Zealand. New girl, Issie, is struggling to make friends having recently moved out to the quiet, backwater town from London but an unexpected interest in horses, a surprising bond with unbroken pony, Blaze, and an enigmatic stallion, Mystic, keep her interest long enough to stop her from running away yet again.
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Meanwhile, worrying incidents surrounding a new industrial development prove the catalyst to a series of events that means Issie and her fellow riders – Dan, Caleb, Caroline, Stella and Natasha – have to risk everything, and challenge all they know in Kauri Point, in order to save their horses, their community and all they love about where they live.
Amy Shindler and Beth Chalmers, who worked on ITV comedy Pat & Cabbage, are showrunners with Scott Payne (The Worst Witch), Yero Timi-Biu (The Dumping Ground), Samuel E. Shore (Filthy Rich), Steph Matuku (Whetū Toa and the Magician), Kate McDermott (Go Girls) and original author Stacy Gregg writer.
Funded in part by NZ On Air and distributed by Kew Media, exec producers include Simon Crawford Collins, Richard Fletcher, MD, Libertine Pictures and Amy Buscombe for CBBC.
It is the latest international series for Slim Film + Television, which is producing a new version of Jules Verne classic Around the World in 80 Days for European broadcasters France Télévisions, ZDF and RAI as well as Seven Network.
“We are really proud to be making this ground-breaking children’s drama for such a top flight of international broadcasters whose combined involvement enables us to deliver this series on an epic scale. Over the last 12 months, children have shown the world that they are willing to stand up and tackle the really big issues that adults have continuously shied away from,” said Crawford Collins. “Stacy Gregg’s brilliant and much-loved book series, in the hands of Amy and Beth’s bold adaptation, is set to the backdrop of this passion and delivers it with gorgeous characters, complex morals, loads of excitement and yet still manages to be very funny.”
Fletcher added, “Mystic taps into themes that are so relevant to young people. It’s not just a simple story about teens who love horses; it looks at the intricate and complex relationships with their families, with each other and with the place in which they live. The intriguing, action-packed scripts are full of humor, adventure, jeopardy and joy whilst interweaving the human impact on the environmental world with the supernatural forces that are unleashed by it. It is very exciting to bring these iconic books to the screen.”
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