ZDF Studios & Factual Fiction team for ‘Dorian Gray’ update

Maiya John

Germany’s ZDF Studios and the UK’s Factual Fiction are co-developing a modern update of the Oscar Wilde novel The Picture Of Dorian Gray.

Written by London-based Maiya John and titled #DorianGray, the 12 x 30-minute series is described by ZDF as “suspenseful ride through the life of a teenager as they construct their identity. With every tweet, #instagram & Tik Tok video, Dorian – whilst navigating complex issues of sex, gender, mental health and consent – produces a version of who they wish they were, rather than who they are.”

Published in the 1890s, Wilde’s Gothic novel The Picture Of Dorian Gray tells the story of the titular man, whose sins were recorded on a portrait, while he remained young and handsome as he pursued a life of hedonism.

Launched in 2020, Factual Fiction is backed by Great Point Media and headed up by founders Emily and Tom Dalton along with co-founders Patrick Irwin and writer/director Chamoun Issa. This new co-development builds upon the two companies’ previous partnership on The Puzzle Lady.

Yi Qiao, director of drama for ZDF Studios, said: “Taking the theme of this classic book and giving it a modern twist is ingenious and -especially in the age of social media – more current than ever before.”

Tom Dalton added: ““If ever there was a novel written for our time it is The Picture of Dorian Gray. Morally agnostic, self-obsessed, terrified of rejection and yet deeply compelling. Exploring this world with brilliant young writer Maiya John, alongside the fantastic creative support of Yi Qiao and ZDF Studios is an immense pleasure.”.

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