Caryn Mandabach Productions (CMP), the production company behind Peaky Blinders, has optioned the TV rights to ‘An Unsuitable Job for a Woman’ and ‘The Skull Beneath the Skin’ by P.D. James.

The two best-selling books feature the exploits of James’ ground-breaking central character; the young, tenacious private detective, Cordelia Gray.

As part of the deal with the P.D. James estate, CMP have agreed the potential to develop further Cordelia Gray stories beyond the two existing novels, and have brought on board screenwriter, Eve Hedderwick Turner – creator of Anne Boleyn for Sony Pictures TV, starring Jodie Turner-Smith and Paapa Essiedu – to develop the novels as a returning drama series, set in the present day.

Hedderwick Turner said: “Twenty-two year old Cordelia Gray is not your traditional private detective. Fierce and instinctive, she really cares about justice – even if she must resort to slightly questionable methods to achieve it. I’m so excited to bring a new, fresh take to this murder mystery series from the queen of crime fiction herself, P D James, and bring the novels into the present day for a contemporary audience.”

CMP’s Head of Development, Alexandra Arlango, said: “When I first read ‘An Unsuitable Job for a Woman’, I was struck by how brilliantly it would translate into a modern day setting and immediately started a conversation with PD James’ daughters. With their blessing we started the hunt for someone to bring this book series into the 21st Century., Eve Hedderwick Turner had always been on our radar, and she is the perfect fit to help make Cordelia Gray an iconic, compelling and unexpected lead for a new generation.”

Arlango and Hedderwick Turner will executive produce along with CMP Chief Executive, Caryn Mandabach, and Creative Director, Jamie Glazebrook.

The deal was negotiated by Jane Villiers at Sayle Screen on behalf of Carol Heaton at Greene & Heaton.

Jon Creamer

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