EXCLUSIVE: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Baby Driver star Lily James is to front an Emily Mortimer-penned and directed adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s classic novel The Pursuit of Love for BBC One.
The British public broadcaster has ordered a three-part series based on the 1945 book from BBC Studios-backed Moonage Pictures and Open Book, the Charles Collier-founded joint venture between BBC Studios, Original Talent and Tavistock Wood.
The Pursuit of Love is the first book in a trilogy about an upper-class English family between the First and Second World Wars. The comedy deals with issues of growing up and falling in love among the privileged and eccentric.
The Pursuit of Love follows the travails of the Radlett family, focusing on Linda, the most beautiful and wayward Radlett daughter, played by James, who falls first for a stuffy Tory politician, then an ardent Communist, and finally a French duke named Fabrice, and her cousin Fanny Logan. Consumed by a desire for love and marriage, the two women are on the hunt for the ideal lover. Their friendship will be put to the test as Fanny settles for a steady life and Linda decides to follow her heart, to increasingly wild and outrageous places.
As pre-war political divisions split the nation, these women’s diverging choices raise imitate personal questions that are relevant today – about freedom, love, sexual politics, and the mystery of the human heart.
Mitford subsequently wrote two sequels, Love In A Cold Climate and Don’t Tell Alfred.
Love In A Cold Climate, along with The Pursuit of Love, was previously adapted by BBC One and WGBH Boston, in 2001 by author Deborah Moggach and directed by The King’s Speech’s Tom Hooper. It starred Rosamund Pike as Fanny. Judi Dench previously starred in a 1980 adaptation for Thames Television.
Mortimer has been stepping up her writing recently; she is currently penning a reboot of classic British legal drama Rumpole of the Bailey, originally created by her father, having worked with her friend Dolly Wells on HBO and Sky comedy Doll & Em. It would also mark The Newsroom star’s TV directorial debut.
The series is the latest project for Moonage Pictures, which was set up by a handful of Peaky Blinders execs, veteran Tiger Aspect exec Will Gould, former BBC Drama Commissioner Matthew Read and Tiger Drama’s Frith Tiplady. The company has produced Sean Bean and Malachi Kirby-fronted action drama Curfew, for Sky One, which is a co-pro with Tiger Aspect and is currently making Intergalactic, an action-packed sci-fi drama, set in the 23rd Century and written by Prisoners’ Wives and Secret Diary of a Call Girl writer Julie Gearey. It is also adapting Lionel Davidson’s Russian spy thriller Kolymsky Heights.
Commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, The Pursuit of Love will be produced by Rhonda Smith.
James and Mortimer are repped by Tavistock Wood and UTA, while Mortimer is also repped by Lighthouse Management + Media.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.