EXCLUSIVE: The Sarah-Jane Stratford novel Radio Girls has been optioned by @nyindieguy productions’ Ira Deutchman. The book is a historical novel set in 1920’s London which combines actual events and characters with a fictional mystery at its center. It is based on the real-life character of Hilda Matheson, an MI5 agent during WWI who became an influential producer in the early days of BBC Radio. The story is told through the eyes of a young Canadian woman, who falls into a job at the BBC where she gets caught up in the conflict between Matheson and her more conservative male superior. Along the way she unearths a conspiratorial plot with enormous consequences and potential danger to herself, the institution she works for and the whole of the European continent. The book was published in the UK, North America and Germany in 2016.
Deutchman, the former Fine Line Features chief who produces and teaches at Columbia U, has produced such films as Kiss Me Guido, All I Wanna Do and 54. The deal was made between Deutchman and Samantha Slan of Slanted Wheel Management. Deutchman plans to develop the novel as a limited series for television.
”Sarah-Jane’s book captivated me from the moment I started reading it, and I could immediately see its potential,” Deutchman said. “As a limited series we can draw out the themes that make it so relevant to what we are experiencing today–the importance of a free press, the rise of fascism and the place of women in the workplace. Everything that was going on in the 1920’s is being echoed today”
Stratford said she “always hoped a book about the world of early radio might make a terrific television series. The tech-savvy and forward-thinking Hilda Matheson would be thrilled right along with me. I’m delighted with Ira’s vision and excited to see the Girls in a new medium.”
Deutchman plans on pursuing a Canadian-British co-production and hopes to put together an all-female creative team.
Deutchman’s also percolating Debra Granik’s adaptation of Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed, and a theatrical adaptation of Joan Micklin Silver’s indie classic Hester Street. The company also just completed the documentary feature Searching for Mr. Rugoff, on which Deutchman made his directorial debut. The film premiered at DOC NYC.
The author’s latest book, Red Letter Days, was just released.
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