Steven Knight is working on the life of William Shakespeare for a drama series with Kudos (a Banijay UK company) and Via Pictures.

The concept was developed by Sarah Lancashire and will be written by Steven Knight. It will be produced out of Knight’s Digbeth Loc. Studios in Birmingham by Kudos, in association with Lancashire’s production company, Via Pictures, which she formed with Peter Salmon.

This is the third project to be announced from the Kudos-Knight creative partnership, set up to generate a pipeline of scripted production to be realised in Birmingham. The deal formalised a partnership, which has seen Kudos and Knight work together on BBC One series SAS Rogue Heroes and Two Tone (w/t) greenlit for a six-part series, also for BBC One.

The producers believe that this will be the first full account of the passion, people and politics that made William Shakespeare the world’s most famous dramatist and the men and women around him who loved and laboured, schemed and plotted, killed and connived in one of the most dangerous and exciting periods in history.

The series, which isn’t currently attached to a broadcaster, will be executive produced by Karen Wilson and Martin Haines for Kudos, by Sarah Lancashire and Peter Salmon for Via Pictures and Steven Knight.

Sarah Lancashire says: “Via Pictures are very pleased to be collaborating with Kudos and the brilliant Steven Knight to screen the remarkable story of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries. This is a thrilling project about a Golden Age beset by plague, Puritanism and deadly politics.”

Steven Knight added: “I’m excited to be embarking on what will be a landmark TV production telling the dramatic story of the world’s most accomplished writer. It’s a period I love and the team that has been put together is extraordinary. It’s a story that begins in the West Midlands and is close to my heart.”

Karen Wilson and Martin Haines, Joint Managing Directors for Kudos, said: “Sarah’s idea has huge scale and high drama, and with Steven Knight writing, this is an unbelievably exciting project which we can’t wait to get on screen.”


Pippa Considine

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