Kudos partners with Steven Knight & ‘Happy Valley’s Sarah Lancashire for William Shakespeare drama

Sarah Lancashire in ‘Happy Valley’

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is developing a drama series around the life of William Shakespeare, based on a concept from Happy Valley star Sarah Lancashire.

The series is being produced by Banijay UK label Kudos, alongside Lancashire and Peter Salmon’s firm Via Pictures, at Knight’s Digbeth Loc. Studios in Birmingham.

The series will tell the story of the glove-maker’s son who became the greatest storyteller in history – and how his genius survived and thrived in an age of turmoil and terror, danger and disease.

The show aims to explore the passion, people and politics that made William Shakespeare the world’s most famous dramatist and the men and women around him who loved and laboured, schemed and plotted, killed and connived in one of the most dangerous periods in history.

The series, which isn’t currently attached to a broadcaster, will be executive produced by Karen Wilson and Martin Haines for Kudos, by Lancashire and Salmon for Via Pictures and Knight.

“I’m excited to be embarking on what will be a landmark TV production telling the dramatic story of the world’s most accomplished writer. It’s a period I love and the team that has been put together is extraordinary. It’s a story that begins in the West Midlands and is close to my heart,” said Knight.

“Via Pictures are very pleased to be collaborating with Kudos and the brilliant Steven Knight to screen the remarkable story of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries. This is a thrilling project about a Golden Age beset by plague, Puritanism and deadly politics,” added Lancashire.

This is the third project to be announced from the Kudos-Knight creative partnership, following BBC dramas Two Tone and SAS: Rogue Heroes, which was set up to generate a pipeline of scripted production to be realised in Birmingham.

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