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Jack Thorne to adapt Lord of the Flies for new BBC One drama

The four-part drama will be the first time William Golding’s seminal novel has been adapted for television.

Credit: Antonio Olmos

Adapted by Jack Thorne, Lord of the Flies, written by renowned British novelist William Golding, tells the story of a group of young boys who find themselves stranded on a tropical island.

In an attempt to remain civil, the boys organise themselves, led by Ralph and supported by the group’s intellectual, Piggy. But Jack, who is in charge of signal fire duty, is more interested in hunting and vying for leadership and begins to draw other boys away from the order of the group and ultimately from hope to tragedy.

The four-part drama will be produced by Eleven and executive produced by Joel Wilson and Jamie Campbell for Eleven, Jack Thorne for One Shoe Films and Nawfal Faizullah for the BBC.

Speaking about adapting the novel for television, Jack Thorne said "Joel and I were talking in his kitchen and he said 'go on, name it, the one you'd like to do but don't think you ever will get the chance to' and I said Lord of the Flies, a book that left a scar on me like no other. Joel shot up and said he’d been pestering the Golding family’s representatives for years. Soon after, he found a way to Judy Carver, and then brought me in and I am so delighted they've trusted us with this incredible book."

"Working with the mighty BBC, Charlotte and Lindsay to bring this to life, finding our director and actors will be, I'm sure, one of the joys of my life. It is a book, I think, full of love as well as cruelty, about how we survive as people and the ways we undo ourselves. It is a TV show we hope families will watch together on the sofa and unpick just as I unpicked the book with my Mum as a kid."

To which executive producer Joel Wilson added "I first read the book when I was seven and it made an indelible impression on me – more than any novel since."

"It is a great honour and joy to be taking responsibility for the adaptation of such a precious novel – particularly given I’ll be working alongside my dear friend Jack – one of the kindest and most insightful writers on the planet. He has written some of the more detailed and affecting portraits of human beings one could hope to encounter."

"We are deeply grateful to have such full-hearted support from William Golding’s daughter Judy Carver, as well as Charlotte and Lindsay, all of whom fell in love with Jack’s vision for the series immediately."

Lord of the Flies was first published by Faber for what was then an unknown author and has become one of the most popular books on English curricula for the last 70 years, winning William Golding the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983.

Speaking about today's news, William Golding’s daughter Judy Golding Carver said "My father wrote the novel in a passionate, visionary response to the aftermath of war. He understood that its relevance would not die away."

"I believe he would welcome the freshness and vigour with which Jack and Joel undertake the project, and he would certainly be touched by their intense commitment. Our family has been encouraged by our discussions with them – and as a result we put our trust in their skills and enthusiasm."

"My father was proud of the novel and had faith in its power and honesty. His family believe that this adaptation will do full justice to these qualities."

To which Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, added "We are so excited that Jack Thorne will be adapting such an iconic, timeless and much-loved novel for television for the very first time – and that the adaptation has been endorsed by the late William Golding's family. It's a formidable writing and production team that will bring these definitive characters to life for all generations."

Lord of the Flies will air on BBC One


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