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HarperCollins mines crime archive for TV

UK indie Free@Last TV has linked with HarperCollins Publishers to develop a TV crime drama anthology series based on detective books from publishing imprint The Classic Crime Club.

The aim is to turn the publisher’s archive of crime titles into an international TV brand, with an anthology series of TV movies planned for release each year.

These will be adapted from the books currently available that showcase the best in detective storytelling from the library’s “golden age.” Each of the books will be adapted as a standalone feature-length TV drama as part of a returnable eight-episode series.

Replicating the model currently used with the Agatha Christie library for series such as Poirot, Miss Marple and BBC productions such as And Then There Were None, Free@Last TV said The Classic Crime Club series would offer an international window on some uniquely British storytelling.

HarperCollins began reprinting titles from archive imprints The Detective Club and The Classic Crime Club in 2015, after publisher David Brawn discovered them in a company archive.

The series is being developed by Agatha Raisin producer Free@Last TV with Quadrant Productions. The executive producers are Barry Ryan and David A Walton for Free@Last TV, plus Norman Coxall for Quadrant. HarperCollins will also executive produce.

So far, 50 titles from the imprints have been reissued by HarperCollins, with plans for many more from the original book series. Reissues have included new editions of three vintage crime books with their original covers: The Perfect Crime by Israel Zangwill, Called Back by Hugh Conway and The Mayfair Mystery by Frank Richardson.

Katie Fulford, special projects director for HarperCollins, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce these classic crime stories to a new generation. The characters and plots featured in these books are timeless and HarperCollins looks forward to working with Free@Last TV and Quadrant to bring them to life.”

Free@Last’s Ryan added: “These evocative, original whodunnits are classic television events waiting to happen.”

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