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See-Saw adapts YA love story for Netflix

The Heartstopper graphic novels began as a web comic in 2016

Netflix in the UK has commissioned a live-action adaptation of the popular young-adult graphic novel series Heartstopper from The King’s Speech producer See-Saw Films.

The boy-meets-boy love story has Euros Lyn (Sherlock, Doctor Who) attached to direct, while the graphic novels’ creator, Alice Oseman, has also written all episodes in the 8×30′ series.

Oseman has published three books in the Heartstopper series since it launched as a web comic in 2016 on Tumblr and Tapas and amassed a strong following, with volume four due out this May.

It tells the story of Charlie and Nick, who meet at an all-boys school in Kent, become friends and fall head over heels for each other.

Along the way they realise there is a strong community of allies and friends around them, helping them to access their authentic selves, but also teaching them there is no ‘right way’ to come out.

Alexi Wheeler, Netflix’s UK-based director of kids and family content, said: “This is a story that deserves to be told. Beyond anything else I have worked on in my career, the feeling regarding Heartstopper was that there was no way we could not make it.”

The adaptation will be executive produced by See-Saw’s Patrick Walters, Jamie Laurenson and Hakan Kousetta, plus the company’s joint MDs Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, alongside Lyn. Zorana Piggott is also joining the Heartstopper team to produce the series.

The Heartstopper books are published by Hachette in the UK and Scholastic in the US, as well as in 14 other translation territories worldwide, while over a quarter-of-a-million copies have been sold in the English language.

Oseman is represented by Emily Hayward-Whitlock at The Artists Partnership and Claire Wilson at RCW Literary Agency. Lyn is represented by Jessica Sykes at Independent Talent Group.

London- and Sydney-based See-Saw’s television division began with Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake and Top of The Lake: China Girl, while more recent projects have included State of the Union, written by Nick Hornby, and Samantha Strauss’s The End, for Foxtel and Sky Atlantic.

Other upcoming TV and streaming projects include The North Water for BBC2, written and directed by Andrew Haigh, starring Colin Farrell, Jack O’Connell and Stephen Graham; Slow Horses, for Apple TV+, starring Gary Oldman, Jack Lowden and Kristin Scott Thomas; and The Essex Serpent, for Apple TV+, directed by Clio Barnard.

See-Saw Films’ Walters said: “Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper is joyful tonic for these troubled times. It is an affecting graphic novel that’s on-screen version will pack a real emotional punch for today’s LGBTQIA+ teens.

“At See-Saw, a top priority is to find stories that champion the underdog, and in Charlie and Nick we’ve been able to do exactly that. To have attached a filmmaker as uniquely talented and passionate as Euros Lyn to helm the series is a dream come true.”

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