Paramount+ UK & Ireland has commissioned new drama Little Disasters (6 x 60”), with Diane Kruger (Troy, Inglourious Basterds, In the Fade) and Jo Joyner (The Wives, For Her Sins, Shakespeare & Hathaway) cast in the lead roles as Jess and Liz.

Roughcut is producing in association with Fremantle who will also distribute the show internationally.

The series is adapted from the novel by bestselling author Sarah Vaughan (Anatomy of a Scandal) and is billed as a “complex psychological thriller exploring female friendships and motherhood.” Joining Kruger and Joyner in the cast will be Shelley Conn (Gen V, Alex Rider, Bridgerton), playing ambitious corporate lawyer Charlotte and Emily Taaffe (The Rising, The Beast Must Die, War And Peace) as free-spirited Mel.

Also joining the cast are JJ Feild (Turn, Austenland, The Peripheral) as wealthy and overstretched family man Ed and Ben Bailey Smith (Star Wars: Andor, The Split, Brief Encounters) who plays Liz’s husband Nick. Stephen Campbell Moore (The History Boys, Masters of the Air, Criminal Record) plays Mel’s husband Rob.

Little Disasters centres on a decade-long friendship between Jess (Kruger), Liz (Joyner), Mel (Taaffe) and Charlotte (Conn), four expectant mothers who were thrown together with little in common apart from their due dates.

When Jess takes her baby daughter to hospital with a head injury that she can’t explain, her close friend and on-duty A&E doctor Liz must make the excruciating decision of whether to call social services on her longtime friend. This decision sets in motion a chain of events that show how one moment can fracture and nearly destroy entire families and friendships.

As the plot unfolds, the consequences of Jess and Liz’s actions come to light, families unravel and the women begin to articulate long-held judgements against each other. As the truth is unmasked, deep-rooted issues and insecurities are thrust into the spotlight as the women question what really happened to Jess’ baby.

Ruth Fowler and Amanda Duke adapted the series for the screen with Roughcut Television executive producers Ash Atalla, Alex Smith and Marianna Abbotts on board alongside Sarah Vaughan. Simon Judd executive produces for Fremantle, Eva Sigurdardottir is the director and Myf Hopkins serves as the producer.

Little Disasters was commissioned by Sebastian Cardwell and Paul Testar for Paramount+ UK & Ireland. On the new series order, Testar said: “We are big fans of Sarah Vaughan’s novel and thrilled to be working on this adaptation with Roughcut Television. Diane, Jo, Shelley and Emily embody our four mothers seamlessly and we can’t wait to see what each of them bring to the series.”

Roughcut Television’s Marianna Abbotts added: “We are so excited to bring Sarah Vaughan’s gripping and thought-provoking novel, Little Disasters, to the screen. Ruth Fowler and Amanda Duke’s brilliant scripts stay true to the themes in the book and shine a light on the dark reaches and intense love of motherhood. We are thrilled that such incredible acting talent, Diane Kruger and Jo Joyner, will be bringing Jess and Liz to life.”

Rebecca Dundon, SVP Scripted Acquisitions at Fremantle said:“Little Disasters has all the elements of an addictive drama – expertly weaving universal themes of motherhood, friendship, privilege, duty and societal pressures into a provocative nail-biting thriller which we know will engage audiences around the world.”

picture credits: Diane Kruger (Robby Klein/Contour by Getty Images), Jo Joyner (YellowBellyPhoto), Emily Taaffe (Iona Wolff) and Shelley Conn (Gerald Kydd)


Jon Creamer

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