EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott and Tony Scott’s production company has optioned Pigeon English, a debut novel by Brit writer Stephen Kelman that Bloomsbury is due to publish on March 23rd. The BBC has commissioned the script of this television movie, one of the first to be developed by Scott Free’s UK TV arm. Jack Thorne, one of the busiest young writers in the UK today (Scouting Book for Boys), is adapting the book. Pigeon English follows Harri, a 12-year-old Ghanaian boy, newly arrived in London who lives in a housing project with his mother and sister. When Harri and his friend Dean see police tape around a boy murdered on the estate, Harri decides to start a murder investigation of his own – putting his family into danger.
Adam Smith, whose credits include Skins and the BBC’s Little Dorrit, is attached to direct. The producer is Liza Marshall of Scott Free UK. The adaptation has been commissioned by Piers Wenger, executive producer of Doctor Who. Marshall said: “Pigeon English is an original, funny, warm and incredibly moving coming of age story. The moment I read it, I fell in love with it and we’re very excited to be bringing this wonderful book to the screen.”
Scott Free US is developing two more TV projects. The U.S. arm is producing Philip K. Dick’s novel The Man in the High Castle as a four-part miniseries also for the BBC written by Howard Brenton (Spooks/MI-5), and The Drivers, a series based on the 24-hour motor race in Le Mans during the 1950s-1960s. Both are being co-produced with UK indie producer Headline Pictures and funded by FremantleMedia as part of its strategy of developing and packaging drama for the international market.