‘The English Patient’ TV Series Adaptation In Works At BBC From Emily Ballou & Miramax TV

EXCLUSIVE: The BBC is developing a small screen adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s novel The English Patient.

The British public broadcaster is in the early stages of development of the drama project, which comes from Run and Taboo writer Emily Ballou. It is a co-production between Miramax Television and Paramount Television Studios.

Deadline understands that the drama series represents a new interpretation of Ondaatje’s book, which follows four dissimilar people brought together at an Italian villa during World War II, and not a remake of the 1996 Miramax feature film adaptation directed by Anthony Minghella that won nine Oscars including Best Picture.

The book, which was published in 1992, follows a unrecognisably burned man — the eponymous patient, presumed to be English — his Canadian Army nurse, a Sikh British Army sapper and a Canadian thief. Set behind the North African and Italian campaigns of the Second World War, the book is told out of sequence and moves back and forth between the patient’s memories before his accident and the current evens at the bomb-damaged Italian monastery.

This is one of several TV series based on Miramax IP that have been put together since Marc Helwig was appointed Head of Worldwide Television last year with mining the company’s feature library as a main priority. The indie studio has an untitled series based on Chuck Barris’ memoir Confessions of a Dangerous Mind in the works at Apple TV+ with Justin Timberlake attached to play the Gong Show host. Additionally, Miramax Television is rebooting cult 1997 horror sci-fi thriller movie Mimic and is developing a TV series based on Guy Ritchie-directed and Matthew McConaughey-fronted action comedy The Gentleman.

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The English Patient is also the latest British series in the works from Miramax TV which has been ramping up its London-based operations. It recently teamed up with Dominic Treadwell-Collins on an adaptation of Jim Cartwright’s play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, which inspired the 1998 Miramax film Little Voice.

Ballou is an Australian/American poet, novelist and screenwriter who lives in the UK. She was a supervising producer on HBO’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge-exec produced drama Run and a creative consultant on Steven Knight, Tom Hardy and Ridley Scott’s series Taboo, which aired on BBC and FX. She has also written on Starz’ Becoming Elizabeth and AMC and Channel 4 co-pro Humans. She also has a number of Australian TV credits including The Slap.

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