news 2 weeks ago

Fremantle Teams With New Drama Producer Three Tables For ‘The Robber Baron’s Daughter’ Adaptation

Deadline — Peter White

EXCLUSIVE: Nascent LA/London drama producer Three Tables Productions has teamed with Fremantle to develop an adaptation of mystery thriller The Robber Baron’s Daughter.

The companies have set Picnic At Hanging Rock writer Beatrix Christian to adapt Jamila Gavin’s book.

The adaptation marks the first project unveiled by Three Tables, which was set up by group of UK drama producers and former September Films boss David Green last year.

The three London-based founders of the company are David Chikwe, who produced CBBC’s Eve and BBC One drama Missing, Himesh Kar, exec producer of Benedict Cumberbatch-fronted doc Walk With Me and JT Wong, producer of BBC kids’ show The Mysti Show. Green, who previously ran DCD Media and directed a raft of film and TV including Phil Collins film Buster, is Chairman and based in LA.

The Robber Baron’s Daughter, which was first published in 2008, is a haunting mystery thriller about a sheltered rich-girl who disobeys her powerful father to investigate the disappearance of her tutor, only to find herself at the heart of a nefarious criminal underworld.  The novel explores human trafficking, criminal oligarchs and a female protagonist breaking free of her social constraints.

Fremantle’s Creative Director for Global Drama Christian Vesper will exec producer. He said, “Co-developing The Robber Baron’s Daughter alongside the newly formed Three Tables Productions is immensely exciting, as their talent, ambition and creativity make them the perfect partner for Fremantle.  This is a unique young adult story, in an almost gothic fairy-tale setting, which deals with incredibly relevant themes affecting the world today.  We’re also huge fans of Beatrix Christian after working with her on Picnic at Hanging Rock, so having her on board to adapt Jamila’s novel is fantastic.”

Three Tables co-founder JT Wong added, “At Three Tables Productions we want to tell stories you can’t find anywhere else.  That’s not just about finding great source material but also getting it out to the widest possible audience.  With The Robber Baron’s Daughter, Jamila Gavin wrote a page-turning thriller that was originally for younger readers, yet its themes are incredibly grown-up and relevant, making it perfect for adapting into a drama series.  It’s great to partner on this project with Fremantle, who support and share our ambitions for the project.”

Elsewhere on Three Tables (left) slate, the company is adapting Unnatural Causes, the memoir of Dr Richard Shepherd, one of Britain’s top forensic pathologist. The book, which was published earlier this year, tells how Shepherd has performed over 23,000 autopsies including the Princess Diana inquiry and cases around the September 11 attack. The book is being adapted into a returning crime drama with The Eichmann Show writer Simon Block.

Green told Deadline that the company has around 15 projects in development and said its slate includes “entertaining, bold and emotional content”. The business hopes to shoot at least two projects by the end of 2020.

The former DCD Media chief said that the transatlantic nature of the company with bases in LA and London should help in the global drama business. “It’s no longer just either U.S. or UK, the drama business is international; the streamers have mixed up everything considerably for the better,” he said. Chairman is a really posh title, what I am really is an advisor. I will use my LA base to knock on the door of the U.S. majors, ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS and The CW as well as the streamers and the larger cable channels, many of whom are now also significant drama players.”

He said that it also wants to find new sources of financing and is in talks with European partners. “We’re exploring new funding models on both sides of the Atlantic. Bringing in money not just from the traditional sources and distribution advances, but looking at multi-layered deals. We’re looking at equity investors and overseas companies that want to get into the U.S. and UK businesses, and ways that have not been developed before.”

Green added that he was also tempted to get behind the camera again, having last directed 2000’s Breathtaking with Joanne Whalley, and is hopeful of persuading his partner Jane Seymour, who is currently in the new season of Netflix’s The Kosminsky Method, to team up. “I would like to get back behind the camera,” he said. “My partner Jane Seymour and I have got several projects that we’re working together on.”

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