Surrane Jones, the star of HBO and BBC drama Gentleman Jack, is to star in and produce a drama based on the life of five-time female world boxing champion Jane Couch.
Jones, via her TeamAkers Productions banner, and Gentleman Jack producer Lookout Point have optioned Couch’s memoir The Final Round to develop it as a series.
The book tells the story of how Couch went from a tough upbringing in the fishing town of Fleetwood to top boxing venues all over the world at a time when it was still illegal for women to box in the UK. She instigated a legal battle against the UK Boxing Board of Control, who only 20 years ago still insisted women were too psychologically unstable to box.
Refusing to be marginalized, Couch teamed up with two other fearless women, her solicitor Sarah Leslie and Dinah Rose QC, and won the case allowing women to box in the UK. She was regularly portrayed by some quarters of the press as a freak and a monster, and was horribly exploited by the people around her.
The adaptation will be developed for television by Lookout Point’s Faith Penhale and Laura Lankester, alongside Jones and her production partner, Laurence Akers. The production team will be conducting a search for a young female actor to play Jane, and Suranne will also star alongside her. A writer has yet to be attached.
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Jones said, “As soon as I met Jane, I knew I wanted to tell her story from her perspective and shine a light on this amazing woman who paved the way so others in her position could succeed. TeamAkers cannot wait to get started on developing The Final Round, and we’re thrilled to be working with Faith and the team at Lookout Point — we know it’s going to make fantastic television.”
Couch said, “After all the struggles I went through in my career, the fights in the ring, with the media, and in the courts, it’s great that my story will be seen by a whole new audience and the people who helped me along the way, like Sarah and Dinah, will get the recognition they deserve. Women’s boxing has come a long way with Katie Taylor and Nicola Adams OBE becoming household names. But there’s still so much more that needs to be done. Hopefully, my story will help.”
Faith Penhale, CEO of Lookout Point, added, “At Lookout Point, we have a fantastic legacy of telling the true stories of pioneering women, from the likes of Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack to the Brontë sisters in To Walk Invisible, and Jane Couch’s life achievements place her squarely alongside these. The strength and dignity with which Jane fought for her right to stand equally alongside men in her chosen sport is truly humbling, and we are thrilled to be able to work with her, Suranne, and TeamAkers to bring this inspiring tale to screens.”
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