EXCLUSIVE: His Dark Materials writer Jack Thorne is writing four-part family drama Best Interests for BBC One. It marks the first commission for Chapter One Pictures, the Sophie Gardiner-run production company set up by Anonymous Content, Casarotto Ramsay and United Agents.
Deadline revealed that the trio of management and talent agencies had established the indie in March 2018 with Gardiner, who was previously head of drama at Howards End producer Playground Television, set as Managing Director.
Its first order is a “compelling” and “thought-provoking original” from the prolific Thorne, who is also behind series including The Virtues, National Treasure and This Is England as well as the Harry Potter musical.
Best Interests is the story of a family driven apart by having to make choices no parent would ever want to make. Andrew and Nicci’s daughter, Marnie, has a life-threatening condition. The doctors believe it is in her best interests to be allowed to die, but her loving family disagree. They start a fight that will take them through every stage of a legal process, as they struggle to contemplate this huge decision. Who decides? And in whose best interests will it be?
The series was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content. Executive Producers are Gardiner and Toby Bentley (Kiri) for Chapter One Pictures, Thorne for his indie One Shoe Films, and Lucy Richer for BBC One. The series will be produced by Abi Bach (The Honourable Woman).
Filming will take place in 2020 with casting announced in due course.
Thorne said, “As a parent of a three year old I’ve looked at the cases in the media about ‘best interests’ with some fascination and a little dread. When the worst happens, how do you keep your head when everything around you feels wrong? We are going to try and tell a nuanced story that talks about this issue from all sides. I’m so happy to be working with Piers Wenger and the BBC again and to be part of the great folk at Chapter One Pictures. ”
BBC’s Wenger said, “This heartbreaking story delves deep into the inner turmoil these two parents experience when faced with their worst nightmare. Jack Thorne’s talent for tackling the most complex and challenging real life stories with consideration, wisdom and vision will make this a series to remember.””
Gardiner added, “We are delighted and proud that the first commission for Chapter One Pictures is a Jack Thorne project of such calibre, and thrilled for it to be on BBC One. Jack writes these important stories of our time with such compassion, wit and intelligence, it’ll be a privilege for us to help bring it to life.”