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Kenneth Lonergan Penning Four-Part TV Adaptation Of ‘Howards End’

Kenneth Lonergan Penning Four-Part TV Adaptation Of 'Howards End'

How do you stop streaming behemoth Netflix‘s ever-growing slate of original programming? You play the same game. “I personally think competition is good for us all,” BBC Head Of Drama Polly Hill told The Telegraph. “The rise of Amazon and Netflix just raises all of our games.” Furthermore, she believes “the Beeb” has a distinct advantage.

“I feel very confident that what we do is unique to us, that writers and producers still want to bring shows to us because of the relationship they have with us and the risks we take,” she added. “Because of the way we’re funded, we start first and foremost not thinking about the commercial elements of a show but thinking what’s the most important thing for our channels moving forward. I think that leads to greater successes.”

READ MORE: Review: Minor Masterpiece Or Bloated Melodrama? ‘Margaret’ Could Be The Ultimate Argument Starter

So Hill has announced which shows are on the way from the BBC, and the highlight of the bunch is a four-part TV adaptation of E.M. Forster‘s “Howards End” from the pen of Kenneth Lonergan (“You Can Count On Me,” “Margaret“). Of course, the literary classic was previously brought to the screen in 1992 by James Ivory, which won three Oscars, including Best Actress for Emma Thompson (watch the whole movie below). But four hours will certainly allow for greater opportunities to bring the novel to life, so it’s an exciting prospect.

THR has details on the other programs coming from the BBC in 2016, which include a series set in the 24 hour-news cycle of newspapers, an adaptation of Wilkie Collins‘ “Woman In White,” and much more. Check out the slate below, and let us know what one tickles your fancy. 

6 x 60 minutes
Set in the world of newspapers, “its past riven by hacking scandals, its present at the mercy of the digital age and the 24-hour news cycle, its future uncertain,” the show is written by Mike Bartlett, creator of Doctor Foster. He said: “From exposing political corruption to splashing on celebrity scandal, editors and journalists have enormous influence over us, yet recent events have shown there’s high-stakes and life-changing drama going on in the news organizations themselves. I’m hugely excited to be working with the BBC to make “Press” a behind-the-scenes story about a group of diverse and troubled people who shape the stories and headlines we read every day.”

6 x 60
Written by Jimmy McGovern, it “plots the perspective of a local Catholic priest Father Michael Kerrigan and that of his congregation and their struggle with both Catholicism and contemporary Britain.”

The Replacement
3 x 60
The psychological thriller, written and directed by Joe Ahearne, revolves around Ellen, a successful architect in her mid-30s who gets pregnant and finds maternity cover in Paula. “Ellen begins to fear for her safety when she suspects her maternity cover has a disturbing agenda,” according to a show description. “Can her suspicions be explained away as female rivalry and her own insecurity of opting out of work at the top of her game – or do they speak to something deeper?”

6 x 60
Written and created by Kris Mrksa, the series will explore the question “what if your parent died and you suddenly discovered that everything they’d said about themselves, and about you, was untrue?”

Woman in White
4 x 60
“When Walter Hartright encounters a ghostly woman dressed all in white on a moonlit road, he soon finds himself drawn into a mysterious and disturbing world,” according to a show description. “Romance, suspense and danger combine as secrets come to the fore in Wilkie Collins’s haunting tale of insanity and identity. Viewed by many as the first detective novel, “The Woman in White will take viewers on a thrilling ride down the paths and corridors of English country houses and, ultimately, into the depths of the Victorian madhouse.”

Black Earth Rising
Hugo Blick (The Honorable Woman) is behind the series set in Africa. “Black Earth Rising” is a long-form thriller, which, through the prism of a black Anglo-American family, examines the West’s relationship with contemporary Africa by exploring issues of justice, guilt and self-determination,” he says.

Paula (working title)
3 x 60
Written by Conor McPherson, the program is a revenge drama “about a brief encounter that ends in violence.” In it, a man and a woman “get locked into a battle driven by vengeance,” according to the show description.

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