Two Rivers Media has acquired the film and TV rights to Tanya Byrne’s Afterlove, prior to its publication in July this year.

Afterlove – Tanya Byrne’s fourth novel for a young adult audience – is a gripping tale of first love with a supernatural twist.  It follows 16-year-old Ash Persaud who falls head over heels in love with Poppy Morgan, on a school trip. But their romance is cut tragically short when Ash is hit by a car on New Year’s Eve.  Afterwards, Ash is trapped in the afterlife where she is one of three fierce girl-reapers forced to collect the souls of the city’s dead to be taken to await their fate. But Ash can’t forget her first love and she’s determined to see her again, dead or alive.

Olivier Award-winning Emma Reeves will co-write the screen adaptation with Tanya Byrne. Reeves’ TV credits include The Worst Witch, Eve, The Dumping Ground, Young Dracula, The Story of Tracy Beaker and Belonging. Her latest adaptation, My Mum Tracy Beaker has broken records for launch viewing figures on CBBC.

Marcus Wilson, Head of Drama at Two Rivers Media, says: “Tanya Byrne is a true master of authentic teenage voice and experiences, and Afterlove is no exception. We all fell for Ash and Poppy – this really is a love story to die for.  Same-sex romances and diverse central characters are still not seen nearly enough on screen, so we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work on this project.  Its themes are bound to resonate with YA audiences worldwide.

“Emma Reeves and Tanya are a powerhouse team and they will work together brilliantly to bring Afterlove to life for the screen. Emma and I last worked together on The Worst Witch and I knew she would be a perfect fit for this project.”

Tanya Byrne adds: “I knew from my first meeting with Two Rivers that they absolutely understood the story that I am trying to tell with Afterlove and are as committed as I am to translating it to screen as honestly and as authentically as possible. To be working with a production team with such a stellar list of credits, including Luther, which is one of my favourite shows of recent years, is such a privilege. As is writing alongside someone as brilliant and talented as Emma. I cannot wait to get started.”

The rights were bought by Two Rivers Media from Emily Hayward-Whitlock at The Artists Partnership, on behalf of Claire Wilson.  The production team on Afterlove is led by Two Rivers Media’s Head of Drama, Marcus Wilson. His Executive Producer credits include: Luther (for BBC Studios/BBC One), The A Word (for Fifty Fathoms/Keshet UK/BBC One) and The Worst Witch (for CBBC/ZDFe/Netflix). His Producer credits include Doctor Who (BBC Wales/BBC One), Whitechapel (for Carnival/ITV1), Our Zoo (for Big Talk Productions/BBC One), and, as Co-Producer, Life on Mars (for Kudos/BBC One).

Jon Creamer

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