Baby Cow, Steve Coogan’s production company which is majority-owned by BBC Studios, has won the option for Charles Spencer’s account of Charles II’s escape from Cromwell’s army, To Catch a King.

Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, the writers behind Philomena, will tell the story of the 21-year-old King Charles II on the run from Cromwell’s army, who had overthrown the monarchy and publicly executed Charles’s father. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope have also co-written the film The Lost King, directed by Stephen Frears.

Written by Charles Spencer and based on the account given by King Charles II as well as the wealth of new letters and diaries that have come to light in the past fifty years, To Catch a King tells the tale of how the monarch succeeded in evading the Parliamentary troops by means of deception and disguise, including infamously hiding in an oak tree as the troops passed by below.

To Catch a King is one of four UK bestsellers by British non-fiction author Spencer. Spencer worked for a decade as a reporter for NBC’s Today Show. He has also written for a number of publications, including Vanity Fair.

Steve Coogan, said: “I’m delighted that Charles Spencer has entrusted the rights to Baby Cow and we can tell this gripping tale of escape, grit and luck. It is also the coming-of-age story of a young man who has to give up his privilege in order to survive.”

Charles Spencer said: “The miraculous escape of King Charles II is one of the most thrilling episodes in British royal history. I’m delighted that Baby Cow Productions have optioned To Catch A King. Steve Coogan has a track record of bringing iconic and unconventional characters to our screens, and I’m convinced that they will do the story proud.”

The deal was made by A3 Artists Agency and Deborah Klein of Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein on behalf of Spencer.

Jon Creamer

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