Indie drama producer and distributor Reel One Entertainment is set to partner with theatre company Chickenshed to adapt hit Belgian series Team Chocolate (Tytgat Chocolat).
The series that premiered on Belgian public broadcaster VRT last September, tells the story of a young man with down syndrome who travels across Europe to be reunited with the love of his life.
Jasper Vloemans starts his first job in a family-run chocolate factory. He soon falls in love with one of his colleagues: Tina, a girl from Kosovo. But when Tina is suddenly deported to her home country, Jasper and his friends set out on a road trip to find her.
Reel One and Chickenshed will develop and produce the UK version of the series. Reel One plans to begin pitching UK broadcasters over the coming weeks and is currently in discussions to attach a UK writer.
The development of the series comes at a time when broadcasters are under pressure to increase the representation of disabled people on-screen.
According to last year’s provisional report by Project Diamond, set up by the major broadcasters to monitor diversity in the industry, people with disabilities are one of the most under-represented groups on TV, making up just 6.5% of the talent seen on screen and only 5.5% of talent behind the scenes – even though 18% of the national population have a disability.
Adam Fratto, head of series at Reel One, said: “Right from the first episode, we were captivated by the warmth, humour and honesty of this charming story of a group of young people wanting to lead their lives on their own terms. We’re thrilled to be working with De Mensen, Wild Bunch and Chickenshed on what promises to be a unique and timely series.”
The original Flemish-language series was named best drama series at the first Diversify TV Excellence Awards during Mipcom last year and also won the Prix Europa in 2017 for best European Fiction Series.