We Are Lady Parts alumna Raisah Ahmed is working on a six-part TV adaptation of Martin Sixsmith’s book Ayesha’s Gift, the follow up to Philomena.
Ahmed and Sixsmith are partnering with Scottish indie Freedom Scripted on the project, whose managing director Mike Ellen will executive produce. Ahmed, who is currently developing her debut feature with Film4, will also EP alongside Sixsmith.
A family drama, a detective story and a thriller, as with Sixsmith’s previous work, Philomena, Ayesha’s Gift is based on a true story.
In the wake of her father’s untimely and suspicious death, British businesswoman Ayesha Rahman is determined to uncover the truth of his fate. Ibrahim apparently committed suicide while visiting family back in Pakistan. However, with strong reason to believe her dad was in fact murdered and having had no help from the UK or Pakistani authorities, Ayesha takes matters into her own hands, approaching investigative journalist Martin Sixsmith.
As Martin and Ayesha get drawn into a complex and deadly investigation abroad and at home, Martin experiences his own devastating and unexpected family tragedy, which throws his world into chaos. To stand any hope of coming through this, he and Ayesha must help one another find their own truths, pulling together to make sense of their personal lives and family secrets.
Told through the prism of a complex partnership, the story is propelled by an exciting, surprising plot that gets pulses racing and pulls at heartstrings, while simultaneously triggering audiences to reflect deeply on their own familial and personal relationships.
Raisah Ahmed, says “Ayesha and Martin’s story is one of grief, family, and a country still grappling with corrupt systems created by the echoes of colonisation and partition. Having the opportunity to explore the legacy of migration and the complexities of family with Martin’s rich and powerful book is a dream. It feels like a real privilege to have the opportunity to bring Ayesha and Martin to screen with the team at Freedom Scripted and Martin Sixsmith.”
Martin Sixsmith, adds “Embarking with Ayesha on the search for her father’s killers set us at loggerheads. We were divided by background and culture, and by the expectations we had for the solution of the murder. But a tragedy in my life lent me an understanding of the tragedy in hers. We grew close. The resolution of the mysteries behind our individual losses brought us solace, self-knowledge and a shared hope of redemption from grief. Now I’m incredibly excited to see how this story plays out on screen.”
Mike Ellen, executive producer and MD of Freedom Scripted comments “These are two brilliant writers on such a powerful and profoundly moving adaptation as Ayesha’s Gift. This is an epic, edge of your seat investigative story which takes the audience around the UK and around the world. Our drama promises to shine a light on the complexities of grief for both Ayesha and Martin, the heartbreak and revelation of only truly getting to know a loved one after their passing.”
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