Jordon Scott Kennedy’s short film Youthless has been optioned for television development by Yorkshire-based production company Rollem (The Syndicate, Love, Lies & Records, Girlfriends, In The Club).

Youthless (w/t) is a returning drama series – not yet attached to a broadcaster – that explores ‘adultification’ from the point of view of kids growing up on a ‘forgotten’ council estate in rural West Yorkshire. Preceding events featured in the short film, this black-and-white trilogy follows Jud Donlan’s life over three summer holidays before entering the adult world.

“Packed with pathos, humour and taut reality, the show is a brutally honest account of creator Jordon Scott Kennedy’s own formative years, growing up on Dewsbury Moor Estate,” according to Rollem. “Series one will be set in the Summer of 2000. While it might have been new beginnings for the rest of Britain, estates across the UK were disconnected, shunned, and left to fend for themselves as Tony Blair’s dreams of Tomorrow’s World quickly became yesterday’s hangover. But for kids on this estate, every summer is their place to dream and experience what childhood is meant to be, an adventure. At every turn, they are confronted by the looming draw of adulthood and adults who have been cheated and are desperately trying to hang onto their own youth in any way they can find it.”

Rollem, a female-led indie based in Leeds, was set up in 2000 by BAFTA award-winning writer Kay Mellor OBE to produce her successful ITV drama series Fat Friends.  Kennedy, who wrote and directed the short, will be closely involved in the TV adaptation.

“When Rollem showed interest in optioning Youthless, I didn’t hesitate to agree and did so almost immediately,” said Kennedy.  “Rollem is the ideal fit for me because of Kay Mellor’s incredible legacy and the company’s track record of developing new voices and underrepresented talent. Rollem genuinely believes in my voice and our future together feels very bright.”

Gaynor Mellor, Creative Director at Rollem, said: “We’re overjoyed to be working with Jordon on Youthless (w/t) and bring his vision to a wider audience. His short film had us hooked from the outset. Kay was passionate about working with new writers and we couldn’t be happier to showcase this Bradford-based talent who’s already making quite the name for himself!”

Legendary screenwriter Jimmy McGovern commented: “Jordon Scott Kennedy has a great future ahead of him. I thought Youthless showed tremendous talent and there is an underrepresented audience for this TV project.”

Securing Jordon’s IP is part of Rollem’s commitment to the development of new voices and ensuring the continuation of Kay Mellor’s legacy. This comes as Kay’s final stage play, an adaptation of The Syndicate was announced last month, and distribution of her iconic series’ Fat Friends and The Chase were picked up by Banijay Rights and Abacus Media Rights respectively.

Michael Burns

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