...meddling with a much-loved classic, or bringing a story to a whole new audience?
So, it’s a great story with great atmosphere, a range of colourful characters to whom lots of stuff happens and it's even a major bestseller, such as “The Casual Vacancy”. Is that it? Does it follow that great tv drama will ensue?
Does an epic novel automatically make for multi-series, unmissable TV? And do the rules change when the material is autobiographical and the author remains part of the process?
“I preferred the book…” When whole generations already know a story like Treasure Island, how true to the story do you have to be, or can your tv version still keep them guessing?
Are the dramatic hooks the same for television as those that make for compulsive page-turning in a book, or do you sometimes need to alter the plot, tinker with a personality, or even expand some elements, to achieve success as a television format?
- Anne Brogan, Co-Director, Kindle Entertainment and Executive Producer of Treasure Island for Sky and Hank Zipzer for CBBC
- Ruth Kenley-Letts, Producer, “The Casual Vacancy”, Bronte Film and Television Ltd.
- Helen McAleer, Chief Global Development Officer, Walker Books Group and MD Walker Productions and Executive Producer for Hank Zipzer (based on the books by Henry Winkler of Happy Days).
- Sarah Phelps, Screenwriter, “The Casual Vacancy”
- Melanie Stokes, Co-Director, Kindle Entertainment and Executive Producer of Treasure Island for Sky
Founded with Melanie Stokes in 2007, Kindle Entertainment has produced award-winning drama series for the BBC and Sky One, returning comedy series for international broadcasters and has a portfolio of family films in development with the BFI. Productions include Treasure Island, The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby and Hank Zipzer. Kindle Entertainment’s productions have been recognised by the International Emmy Awards, BAFTA, the Royal Television Society, the BANFF World Media Festival and the Shanghai TV Festival, amongst others.
Previously, Anne worked at Thames TV and BBC Education, Executive Producer on television ranging from Teletubbies to Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. As Controller of Granada Kids in 2004, Anne led a thriving production department, with credits including over 100 episodes of the multi-award winning My Parents Are Aliens.
Ruth trained as an actress at E.15 and worked mainly in theatre before moving across to production. She has produced many TV dramas but it all began in Wales where she started to produce for the BBC, HTV and S4C working on both TV dramas and feature films including Boy Soldier for Film 4, The Cormorant directed by Peter Markham, Morphine and Dolly Mixtures directed by Karl Francis and Lynda La Plante’s award winning series Civvies.
After winning an Academy Award and a BAFTA for the short film Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life alongside director Peter Capaldi, she went on to produce Peter’s first feature, Strictly Sinatra for which she was nominated for a Carl Foreman BAFTA for Most Promising Newcomer in Feature Films. Another BAFTA nomination followed for The Tale of the Rat that Wrote, written and directed by Billy O’Brien, whom she went on to work with on his first feature, the horror film Isolation, produced alongside Bertrand Faivre of The Bureau.
Most recently for the BBC she produced Tony Jordan’s The Nativity, produced by both Kudos & Red Planet Productions and for Kudos; Series 1 and 2 of Abi Morgan’s award winning The Hour and for Sky Atlantic the multi award winning The Tunnel. She is now Head of Drama at Brontë Film and TV.
Joining Walker Books UK as MD in 2006 from her role as Deputy MD at BBC Worldwide, Helen focused on building Walker UK’s reputation as a forward looking company, geared towards acquisition and management of multiple rights, and overseeing development of the digital publishing strategy. Now Chief Global Development Officer for the Walker Books Group and MD of in-house TV production arm Walker Productions, she leads a global team overseeing all licensing activity for group brands and media tie-in publishing imprints Walker Entertainment in the UK and Australia, and Candlewick Press in the US.
Walker Productions is part of Helen’s multi-platform strategy to help deliver Walker IP to new audiences, and she set up and became MD of Walker Productions within her first year. Walker Productions has gone on to co-produce and develop several projects over recent years including Henry Hugglemonster for Disney Junior, CBeebies commission Tilly and Friends, CITV commission Fleabag Monkeyface, two series of the popular live action comedy Hank Zipzer for CBBC and the Channel 4 commission We’re Going on a Bear Hunt currently in production.
In the past, Sarah Phelps has been a polo groom, barmaid, cleaner, care assistant, kitchen gofer, dresser and radio mic runner. Now she’s a theatre, radio and television writer.
She wrote for EastEnders for five years where she brought Dirty Den back from the dead, killed him and then dug him up during a wedding. Her most recent credits since then are Great Expectations, The Crimson Field and Brontë Film and Television’s adaptation of The Casual Vacancy for the BBC.
She recently adapted Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None for BBC, and is developing a new series for Sky and Red Planet Productions, a Jacobean thriller for BBC North and an epic story about love, deceit and politics for Company/BBC Northern Ireland. Currently she is also adapting the first of the Robert Galbraith novels, The Cuckoo’s Calling, a Brontë Film & Television Production for the BBC.
Melanie set up Kindle Entertainment with Anne Brogan in 2007. Since then she has exec-produced Dustbin Baby, an International Emmy-winning drama for BBC One starring Dakota Blue Richards and Juliet Stevenson; Some Dogs Bite a feature-length drama for BBC3 directed by Marc Munden and starring Thomas Brodie-Sangster (winner of Best Youth Programme, Kid Screen, NY 2012); and mini-series Treasure Island for Sky One starring Eddie Izzard, Donald Sutherland and Elijah Wood.
Melanie also exec-produced Leonardo, an action-adventure series that she co-created with Pia Ashberry for CBBC; and mini-series The Life & Adventures of Nick Nickleby for BBC, a modern-day retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic tale. Melanie’s recent credits include Dinopaws a CGI comedy for CBeebies about a trio of dinosaur explorers on an epic adventure and returning series Dixi a cyber mystery, the first series won a BAFTA for Best Original Interactive.