Talent packager and financier Grand River Productions has partnered up with Amanda Groom’s The Bridge on a TV adaptation of Bob Baldwin and Max Kinnings’ stage play Wireless Operator.
The play, which was inspired by the wartime experiences and subsequent un-diagnosed PTSD of Baldwin’s father, was part of last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Baldwin directed the stage version and is also attached to direct the TV adaptation, with Jamie Brown’s Grand River producing in association with financier Amanda Groom of The Bridge. Rob Cowie (The Blair Witch Project) will also work on the feature.
The play provides “a powerful and personal look” at the experiences of the UK’s Bomber Command during World War Two, whose role in attacks on civilians made their service in the war a shameful secret.
The story tracks a wireless operator’s experiences in battle in a viscerally recreated, claustrophobic Lancaster Bomber. Filmed with a skeleton crew and four-person cast, the shoot is completely contained and possible to execute in a Covid-safe manner, the producers said.
Brown said: “In developing this project we have worked closely with Bob Baldwin and Max Kinnings. I have been struck by their immense talent and flexibility in all of their work with us, and the way they work so positively and respectfully. Bob has a very keen sense of design and editing, and I know that he will make this a powerful production.”
Baldwin added: “This film is a portrait of an honourable young man who in good faith participated in acts that history has judged truly appalling.
“The story was inspired by my own father’s writing, which revealed how psychologically complex his war had been and the extent of the trauma he and his crew mates had endured. They didn’t talk about it; they didn’t get campaign medals, and their contribution to the allied victory became a national embarrassment consigned to the back pages of history by a society unsure of its moral culpability. Wireless Operator is a long overdue re-examination of their experiences.”