London based drama studio Lookout Point has won the rights to adapt Joseph Knox’s series of crime thrillers about detective Aidan Waits that first took the UK by storm with Sirens in 2017 and has been hailed as a new masterpiece of British crime fiction.
The makers of BBC/HBO hit Gentleman Jack fought off pitches from a shortlist of 10 studios and producers, in a deal brokered by Matthew Bates of Sayle Screen on behalf of Knox and his literary representative Antony Topping of Greene & Heaton.
Sirens, the first novel, introduces disgraced Manchester detective Aidan Waits, working the graveyard shift when he is drawn into a series of darkly interconnected disappearances. Extreme, reckless and unpredictable, Aidan’s past mistakes should have killed his career. But he is still hanging on, he can still save the day, and he has nothing left to lose.
Executive producers are Faith Penhale and Will Johnston for Lookout Point, as well as Knox, who has published three books in the series so far and is currently working on new stories. No broadcaster is yet attached, while conversations with screenwriting talent are underway.
Knox says: ‘Around 50 companies originally expressed interest in the rights to Sirens, but Lookout Point blew my hair back with their enthusiasm. This is a dark story – indebted to hardboiled noir but set in contemporary Manchester – and I’ve always known it will take a certain kind of confidence to get it right. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.’
Penhale says: ‘This is not just another crime series. Joseph writes gripping, utterly original and boldly cinematic novels with scale and ambition to spare. I can’t wait to partner with him bringing Aidan Waits’ story to TV, and to new audiences everywhere.’
Johnston says: ‘Joseph is a visionary crime writer. He maps out epic stories for Aidan Waits and blasts us through them at breakneck speed. I loved discovering these books and their instantly iconic central character: young, funny, audacious, exhilarating company on a wild ride we are honoured and excited to develop for TV.’
Lookout Point, which is owned by BBC Studios, is one of the UK’s leading producers of television drama, known for delivering series with scale, ambition, and global impact. Its recent show Gentleman Jack, created by Sally Wainwright for BBC One and HBO, has been recommissioned for a second series. 2019 also saw Lookout Point’s epic adaptation of Les Misérables from Andrew Davies. Looking forward, the company recently finished shooting the first ever screen adaptation of Vikram Seth’s novel A Suitable Boy on location in India, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding), and produced the latest four episode instalment of Last Tango In Halifax currently airing on BBC One.
Sirens is the first book in the Aidan Waits series, and was the bestselling crime hardback debut by a British author in 2017. It has since been named a Waterstones book of the month, translated into 18 languages and sold over 100,000 copies. The series has drawn praise from Mark Billingham, Lee Child, Val McDermid and Ian Rankin and Joseph Knox was named a South Bank Sky Arts Writer of the Year in 2017.
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