EXCLUSIVE: The BBC is developing A24’s adaptation of 2020 Booker Prize winner Shuggie Bain, Deadline can reveal.
We understand talks have commenced and decision over greenlight will be made by Ben Irving, who will take over as Interim Drama Director from incumbent Piers Wenger in May.
Shuggie Bain producer A24 has hired Wenger and BBC Film Director Rose Garnett to oversee its international slate and for Wenger to sign off the greenlight would likely represent a conflict of interest.
A24 and Scott Rudin Productions won the rights to produce the novel for TV in late 2020. At the time, Scott Rudin and Eli Bush were slated to produce and author Douglas Stuart set to adapt.
Rudin has since been embroiled in scandal after ex-staffers spoke out about his abusive behavior, and he has removed himself from active projects including five films with A24.
The Crown’s Stephen Daldry is reported to be attached to direct Shuggie Bain and it will most probably air in 2024.
Scottish author Stuart’s heart-wrenching debut novel was one of the most critically acclaimed of 2020, debuting at number one on the L.A. Times and three on the New York Times bestseller lists and winning the coveted Booker Prize.
Based on Stuart’s Glasgow upbringing, Shuggie Bain follows the title character and his alcoholic mother Agnes. The sweet and lonely boy spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing while his mother struggles with drink addiction and reels from an abusive relationship.
The adaptation fits within the BBC’s strategy of telling more working class stories from outside of London as it seeks to represent the country in its entirety amid accusations of metropolitan bias.
There is huge competition for BBC drama slots at the moment due to a backlog caused by the Covid-induced delay in drama production.
Wenger is soon to leave after six years in the top job, during which time he commissioned the likes of Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You, Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard and the His Dark Materials series.
The BBC declined to comment.
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