ITV’s Head of Drama Polly Hill has confirmed the commission of six-part drama The Singapore Grip from Mammoth Screen.
Adapted from Booker Prize winner J.G. Farrell’s novel by Oscar winning screenwriter and playwright Christopher Hampton (Atonement, Dangerous Liaisons), The Singapore Grip is set during World War Two and centres on a British family living in Singapore at the time of the Japanese invasion.
Polly Hill said: “The Singapore Grip is a portrait of a society in decline as they cling to a world that is slowly crumbling. I’m delighted to be working with Christopher Hampton and for ITV to be the home for his brilliant adaptation of J.G Farrell’s epic novel.”
The series will be executive produced by Mammoth Screen’s Damien Timmer, responsible for recent dramas including Poldark and The Witness For The Prosecution for BBC One, NW and Parade’s End for BBC Two and Victoria, Endeavour and the forthcoming Vanity Fair for ITV.
Christopher Hampton said:“As a great admirer and, eventually, a friend of J.G.Farrell, I was delighted to be invited to adapt The Singapore Grip, a panoramic account of the disastrous loss of Singapore to the Japanese invaders in 1942. Close analysis of this great novel has only deepened my enthusiasm for the skill with which Farrell has combined the private story of the machinations, commercial and amorous, of the Blackett family and their struggle – described with Farrell’s trademark subversive wit – to preserve and expand their prosperous rubber business with the unfolding of the cataclysmic events to which they remain totally oblivious until it’s too late. Matthew Webb, our bespectacled protagonist, an idealistic innocent abroad, lands in the middle of all this, to find himself fiercely pursued by two beautiful women – an English heiress and a Chinese adventurer – and his story, with its tumultuous backdrop, is told in a style with echoes of Tolstoy and Evelyn Waugh, but still, unmistakably, the unique voice of Jim Farrell.”
Damien Timmer said: “For me, J.G. Farrell and Christopher Hampton is the absolute dream team – two of the finest writers this country has ever produced. Forty years after it was first written, bringing The Singapore Grip to the screen is a passion project for all of us. It’s an exceptionally well-crafted novel which has been adapted with unique flair and mischief by Christopher. It’s a privilege to be making this for ITV, and we hope this hugely ambitious and exotic saga will be a memorable treat for the audience.”
The series will shoot in the Far East this autumn and key production personnel and casting will be announced in the coming months. Mammoth Screen’s Creative Director Rebecca Keane developed the project with Timmer and Hampton, and Karen Thrussell from Mammoth (Poldark, And Then There Were None, Witness For The Prosecution) will also executive produce.
ITVS GE will be responsible for the international distribution of The Singapore Grip.
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