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Garrett wins rights to Watt thriller books

Character 7, the prodco set up by The Night Manager and Spooks executive producer Stephen Garrett, has won a bidding war for the rights to adapt Holly Watt’s thriller novels about a globetrotting investigative journalist.

Stephen Garrett

The company will adapt To the Lions and The Dead Line, which were written by ex-investigative journalist Watt and follow the adventures of Casey Benedict.

To the Lions takes Casey into the North African desert to investigate a series of mysterious and disturbing incidents in a Moroccan refugee camp, while follow-up The Dead Line sees her seek the source of a desperate message hidden in clothing sold on the British high street.

Watt previously worked for newspapers including the Guardian and the Telegraph, jointly running the investigations team at the latter.

Character 7 was founded by Garrett in 2016 and is best known for the BBC/AMC adaptation of John le Carré’s The Night Manager, on which Garrett served as lead executive producer, and for supernatural thriller The Rook on Starz.

Characters 7’s current work includes HBO/Sky’s The Undoing, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, written by David E Kelley and directed by Susanne Bier (The Night Manager); and an adaptation of Le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold for AMC and Paramount.

Prior to founding Character 7, Garrett founded Kudos, the company behind series such as Spooks, Life on Mars and Hustle. The firm was bought by Shine in 2007.

On acquiring the right to Watt’s novels, Garrett said: “Holly is a rare talent whose own edge-of-seat career has informed a uniquely topical twist on the espionage thriller and created an utterly compelling new hero in Casey Benedict.

“Although Casey’s role as a journalist adds an additional skill set and moral dimension to her adventures, she’s every inch the spy and will be an iconic addition to the canon.”

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