EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Roughcut TV, the BAFTA-winning British producer behind Stath Lets Flats and People Just Do Nothing, has swooped for the rights to adapt Sarah Vaughan’s fourth novel into a television series.
The company, spearheaded by The Office producer Ash Atalla, considers the deal for Little Disasters to be an important moment in its strategy to move into high-end drama. It follows Vaughan becoming a hot property in TV after Netflix set an adaptation of her third book, Anatomy Of A Scandal, with Big Little Lies creator David E. Kelley showrunning and Sienna Miller starring.
Little Disasters is a psychological thriller, centering on pediatrician, Dr Liz Trenchard, who is surprised to find the child of her close friend, Jess, has been admitted to accident and emergency. Jess is an attentive mother, but Trenchard has a dreadful feeling that her friend’s explanation for what happened doesn’t reflect the child’s injuries. As she alerts the authorities, Jess’ life unravels and guarded secrets surface, with consequences for their friendship group.
Roughcut TV is currently interviewing writers for the series and is yet to take the project to market. Vaughan said she was “blown away” by the company’s pitch for the book, saying it has a “commitment to being brave and true to the darkness of the story.”
Roughcut’s drama development producer Marianna Abbotts, who works alongside head of scripted Alex Smith, added: “Sarah’s meticulously researched story bravely explores the dark reaches and intense love of motherhood through a taut, compelling psychological thriller. The female friendships at the heart of the book and the way mothers judge each other make this a hugely universal and relatable subject.”
Roughcut TV is currently working on a third season of Channel 4’s BAFTA-winning realtor comedy Stath Lets Flats, which has been picked up by HBO Max in the U.S., as well as a movie based on BBC Three’s pirate radio mockumentary People Just Do Nothing.
Anatomy Of A Scandal is currently shooting in the UK. Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) and Rupert Friend (Strange Angel) co-star in the anthology series about a high-flying Westminster politician whose marriage unravels when he is accused of rape. House Of Cards showrunner Melissa James Gibson is collaborating with Kelley on the drama, which is directed by S.J. Clarkson (Succession).
Roughcut TV is repped by CAA. Vaughan’s deal was brokered by Penelope Killick at David Higham Associates.
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