Exclusive: BBC boards Caryn Mandabach’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro novel

Kazuo Ishiguro

The BBC is working with Peaky Blinders prodco Caryn Mandabach Productions (CMP) on an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed novel When We Were Orphans.

CMP optioned TV rights to Ishiguro’s novel last year and TBI has learned the BBC has joined the Nurse Jackie and Peaky Blinders producer in development of the series.

When We Were Orphans tells the story of Christopher Banks, a celebrated detective in 1930s London, whose encounters with friends lead him to unravel a mystery surrounding the disappearance of his parents during his childhood in Shanghai, China.

The show is being written by Anthony Chen (Wet Season) and his writing partner Kris Ong, with Ishiguro attached to executive produce alongside Caryn Mandabach and Jamie Glazebrook for Caryn Mandabach Productions.

Ishiguro’s widely read novels made him the recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature in 2017, with several of his novels adapted.

Never Let Me Go was made into a feature film starring Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley, while 1989 novel The Remains Of The Day was turned into a movie in 1993, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.

Mandabach, who is appearing at MediaXchange’s Oslo Showrunner Summit this week in Norway, told TBI that the story spanned continents and would appeal to viewers both in the UK and China.

The veteran producer made her name on hit US shows including Roseanne, Third Rock From The Sun and That 70s Show, before setting up CMP in 2006. The company’s hit drama Peaky Blinders, produced with Tiger Aspect, recently finished its fifth season on the UK’s BBC Two.

The company is also working with Catastrophe creator Sharon Horgan to develop a new ‘gritty’ drama for Amazon with Shameless scribe Danny Brocklehurst.

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