EXCLUSIVE: Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer’s book To Catch a King is to be adapted by Philomena and The Lost King duo Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope.
Coogan’s BBC Studios-backed indie Baby Cow won the option for the rights to the book and he will co-write with Pope, with the pair having recently penned Stephen Frears-directed The Lost King set for release later this year. It is yet to be determined whether the project will be a TV series or feature.
Spencer’s 2017 book, his seventh, tells the story of the 21-year-old King Charles II’s run from Oliver Cromwell’s army, who had overthrown the monarchy and publicly executed Charles’s father. Based on the account given by King Charles II along with letters and diaries, it tells of how the monarch succeeded in evading the Parliamentary troops by means of deception and disguise, including infamously hiding in an oak tree as the troops passed by below.
Coogan described To Catch a King as a “coming-of-age story of a young man who has to give up his privilege in order to survive” and Spencer said it tells “one of the most thrilling episodes in British royal history.”
Spencer, who used to be a reporter for NBC’s Today show, generated headlines last year when he reignited the scandal around BBC Presenter Martin Bashir’s bombshell interview with Princess Diana, a hugely embarrassing episode for the BBC more than 20 years on.
Up next for Coogan, who is nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for his performance in This Time with Alan Partridge, is the Channel 4 comedy Chivalry, co-written with Sarah Solemani, while he is playing serial sex offender Jimmy Savile in controversial BBC One drama The Reckoning.
The To Catch a King deal was made by A3 Artists Agency and Deborah Klein of Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein on behalf of Spencer.
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