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ITV adapts Darling Buds, Ipcress File

The Darling Buds of May was originally adapted by ITV in 1991

UK broadcaster ITV has ordered new adaptations of HE Bates’ novel The Darling Buds of May and Len Deighton spy story The Ipcress File.

It has also commissioned a drama written by actor and comedian Lenny Henry, a celebrity sports competition show and two more seasons of travel show Gordon, Gino & Fred: Road Trip.

Titled The Larkins, the comedy-drama adaptation of 1958 novel The Darling Buds of May centres on a rural family from the English county of Kent.

The novel was first adapted for ITV in 1991 as a three-season comedy-drama titled after the book, starring David Jason, Pam Ferris and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The new six-parter is written by Simon Nye and stars Bradley Walsh (The Chase, Coronation Street) and Joanna Scanlan (The Thick of It). It is produced by Objective Fiction, Genial Productions and OMG Scotland.

Walsh is exec producing with Objective Fiction’s chief creative officer Ben Farrell and head of comedy Charlotte Lewis, Genial Productions’ directors Sophie Clarke-Jervoise and Simon Nye, and head of OMG Scotland Toby Stevens. Andy De Emmony is directing, with Serena Cullen producing.

The Ipcress File will be a six-part spy thriller adapted from the 1962 Cold War novel of the same name which was made into a film three years later starring Michael Caine.

ITV’s adaptation is written by John Hodge, directed by James Watkins and produced by Altitude, with Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders), Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Tom Hollander (The Night Manager) starring.

Exec producing are Watkins, Hilary, Steven Saltzman, Sandy Lieberson, Altitude Television’s founders Will Clarke and Andy Mason, and Turbine co-founder Andrew Eaton. Paul Ritchie is producing.

The Ipcress File will be filmed on location in Liverpool and Croatia in 2021.

The final drama ITV has commissioned, Three Little Birds, is written by Lenny Henry and was inspired by his mother’s stories about leaving Jamaica for the UK in the 1950s.

Henry has written all six episodes of the drama with his prodco Douglas Road Productions, which is producing in association with Tiger Aspect Productions. Both companies are part of Banijay.

Henry is exec producing with Russell T Davies, Tiger Aspect’s head of drama Lucy Bedford and Douglas Road’s MD Angela Ferreira.

Elsewhere, celebrity sports competition show The Real Games and will see 12 celebrities go head-to-head in a range of sporting challenges that will be broadcast on live TV in three 60-minute episodes.

Produced by Banijay prodco Initial and hosted by Holly Willoughby and Freddie Flintoff, it will debut on ITV in 2021. Sebastian Grant is exec producing for Initial.

Finally, ITV has commissioned fourth and fifth seasons and two further Christmas specials of Gordon, Gino & Fred: Road Trip from prodco Studio Ramsay.

The show, which sees chefs Gordon Ramsay and Gino D’Acampo and maître d’hôtel Fred Sirieix take a culinary road trip to destinations around the world, premiered in 2018.

The third 6×60’ season is set to air next year and will be followed by a Christmas special. The show’s 2020 Christmas special airs next week.

Seasons four and five (both 8×60’) will air in 2022 and 2023 respectively, and will be joined by a Christmas special each year.

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