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Starz, BBC visit Howards End

US cablenet Starz is teaming up with the BBC once again to coproduce a four-part TV adaptation of Howards End from Wolf Hall producer Playground Entertainment.

Playground will produce the adaptation in association with City Entertainment and KippSter Entertainment for Starz and the UK pubcaster.

The 4×60’ series, based on the classic EM Forster novel, will be adapted for the screen by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and playwright Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea).

BBC1 will air the series in the UK, with Starz broadcasting in the US. Hayley Atwell, Matthew Macfadyen and Tracey Ullman lead the cast.

The BBC and Starz previously partnered on family thriller The Missing back in 2014, and more recently The Dresser starring Anthony Hopkins.

Howards End explores the changing landscape of social and class divisions at the turn of the century in England through the prism of three families – the intellectual and idealistic Schlegels, the wealthy Wilcoxes and the working class Basts.

Playground’s Colin Callender, City Entertainment’s Joshua D Maurer and Alixandre Witlin, and KippSter Entertainment’s David A Stern will executive produce along with Sophie Gardiner, Scott Huff and Lucy Richer for the BBC.

The series will be filmed in and around London. Starz will retain all US multiplatform pay TV rights as well as worldwide multiplatform distribution rights. The BBC will keep the UK rights.

Richer said: “Kenneth Lonergan is one of our truly great contemporary voices, and his adaptation of this adored timeless classic will surprise and delight a whole new audience with its timely and relevant themes.”

Rights to use the original novel as source material for the limited series were acquired from Jonathan Sissons at Peters, Fraser & Dunlop on behalf of the Forster estate.

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