Gentleman Jack producer, Lookout Point, has optioned Big Girl Small Town – the debut novel by Michelle Gallen – after a competitive bidding process.

This is the first comedy project to be announced since the makers of Gentleman Jack appointed Pippa Brown to lead their move into the comedy genre. The renowned writer, director and former actor Kathy Burke will join as part of the creative team working on the adaptation.

Recently shortlisted for an Irish Book Award, the comic novel explores the legacy of the Troubles in a divided Irish border town through the perspective of Majella O’Neill, a twenty seven year old “big girl” who lives at home with her mother and is “brimming with no nonsense attitude and scathing wit.”  Majella lives her life on repeat, working 6 days a week every week in her local chip shop and bearing witness to the goings on of the town from behind the counter.

On having her novel adapted for television, Gallen said: “It’s a dream come true to work with the legendary Kathy Burke and creative firecracker Pippa Brown to bring Majella and the town of Aghybogey to the screen. Kathy and Pippa revel in the fun, filth and grit powering the lives of characters like Jimmy Nine Pints but treat every character with dignity and respect. I think that’s going to create something very special”.

Pippa Brown, Creative Director, Comedy at Lookout Point, said: “I’m beyond excited to work with Michelle and Kathy to bring Majella’s compelling comic voice to the screen and I can’t wait for audiences to fall in love with her and her world of misfits, chip suppers and secrets”.

Kathy Burke said: “After hearing Jane Garvey rave about the book on Woman’s Hour I immediately bought it and had it read within a couple of days.  Majella is an absolutely wonderful character, I loved being inside her beautifully unique head and I’m incredibly excited to be working alongside Michelle Gallen and Pippa Brown in getting her to the small screen”.

Jon Creamer