ITV has commissioned three new drama series – Three Little Birds written by Lenny Henry and new adaptations of The Darling Buds of May and The Ipcress File.

Three Little Birds, written by Sir Lenny Henry and produced by Douglas Road Productions in association with Tiger Aspect Productions, is inspired by his mother’s stories about leaving Jamaica in the 1950’s for Great Britain, which became her lifelong home and where she raised her family.

Sir Lenny has written each of the drama’s six fictional episodes, which his production company, Douglas Road Productions will produce in association with Tiger Aspect Productions. Both companies are part of the Banijay UK group.

Sir Lenny has been working in consultation with scriptwriter, Russell T Davies, who will be an executive producer on the drama alongside Sir Lenny, Angela Ferreira from Douglas Road Productions and Tiger Aspect’s Head of Drama, Lucy Bedford.

The new adaptation of H.E. Bates’ novel, The Darling Buds of May, entitled The Larkins, is written by screenwriter Simon Nye and produced by Objective Fiction, Genial Productions and OMG Scotland

It will star Bradley Walsh and Joanna Scanlan as the iconic fictional characters, Pop Larkin and his wife Ma.

Abigail Wilson (Trollied, Carters Get Rich, Stella) writes one of the episodes.

Screenwriter Simon Nye said: “The novels are short, hilarious and magical. We will be expanding the Larkins’ world a little and can’t wait to immerse ourselves in this glorious countryside idyll.”

The comedy drama will be produced by Objective Fiction, Genial Productions and OMG Scotland with executive producers, Ben Farrell and Charlotte Lewis for Objective Fiction, Sophie Clarke-Jervoise and Simon Nye for Genial Productions and Toby Stevens for OMG Scotland. Bradley Walsh is also an executive producer.

The series has been commissioned for ITV by Head of Scripted Comedy, Nana Hughes.  Commissioner Chloe Tucker will also be overseeing production on behalf of the channel.

The Larkins will be directed by Andy De Emmony (The Nest, Him, Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa) and produced by Serena Cullen (Mount Pleasant, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Me and Mrs Jones).

ITV has also commissioned six part spy thriller The Ipcress File from Altitude.

Globally renowned Len Deighton novel, The Ipcress File has been adapted into a six part television series for ITV starring Joe Cole (Gangs of London, Peaky Blinders) in the iconic role of Harry Palmer alongside Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody, Murder on the Orient Express) and BAFTA award winning actor, Tom Hollander (The Night Manager, Birdbox).

Adapted by Oscar nominated and BAFTA award-winning screenwriter, John Hodge (Trainspotting, T2 Trainspotting) The Ipcress File is an enthralling and atmospheric espionage thriller set in Berlin and London during the 1960’s and Emmy award-winner James Watkins (McMafia, Black Mirror, The Woman In Black) will direct each of the 6 x 60’ episodes.

The series marks the first major production for Altitude Television, part of the larger Altitude independent British media group behind notable releases such as Amy, Moonlight, Diego Maradona, Calm With Horses, Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans, and Rocks. The series will be produced in association with ITV Studios.

The Ipcress File will be executive produced by Will Clarke (Filth) and Andy Mayson (Ghost Stories) for Altitude Television, Andrew Eaton (The Crown) for Turbine, Sandy Lieberson (Performance), James Watkins and Hilary and Steven Saltzman.  The series will be produced by Paul Ritchie (McMafia, Slumdog Millionaire).

ITV Studios are providing significant financing, with other co-financiers comprising of the Liverpool Film Office, Lipsync, Filmgate and the Finnish National and Regional Funds, with Cofiloisirs Bank cashflowing. Reno Antoniades at Lee & Thompson will be handling legal.

ITV’s Head of Drama Polly Hill has commissioned the series from Altitude and will oversee the drama from the channel’s perspective.

The Ipcress File will be filmed on location in Liverpool and Croatia during 2021.

ITV Studios will be responsible for the international distribution of the series.

Jon Creamer

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