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It's showtime for Gormenghast. A new adaptation of the fantastical drama is set to be co-produced by Fremantle and Showtime, which will play home to the series. This new iteration, based on the book series by Mervyn Peake, will come from the combined forces of Toby Whithouse (Doctor Who), Akiva Goldsman, and Neil Gaiman, the latter recently having great success on television with his own adaptation of Good Omens, based on the book that he co-wrote with Sir Terry Pratchett. Fremantle also produces American Gods on Starz, which is itself an adaptation of a famous Gaiman novel.
Deadline reports that Showtime has given a "script to series commitment" to the new adaptation, and that a writers' room has been set up. Whithouse (who will serve as showrunner) has been developing the series since last year, alongside executive producers Gaiman, Goldsman, Dante Di Loreto, Oliver Jones, Barry Spikings, and David A. Stern. Gaiman has an overall deal with Amazon at the moment (they gave a home to Good Omens in the U.S.), but this show falls outside of that deal. Gaiman himself told Deadline that he wished to “take it to wherever will be the best home for it”.
The original book series follows characters who live in a huge, decaying place named Castle Gormenghast. There is drama all over this castle, from battles over the throne to the travails of a scheming kitchen boy. It has it going on both upstairs and downstairs, you might say. The BBC previously attempted an adaptation of the first two books in the series in 2000, which starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Christopher Lee.
Speaking to Deadline, Gaiman said that now is the right time to revisit Gormenghast. "The BBC once tried but they were all making it in times when depicting the impossible on the screen was too difficult," he explained. "The great thing now is that we can make it and actually show it and take you there. We are now in a world where you can put the impossible on screen and with Gormenghast, you’re not just dealing with a castle the size of a city but dealing with these incredibly glorious and memorable people.”
A castle the size of a city, full of fantasy characters adapted by Gaiman, Goldsman, and Whithouse? Sign us up immediately, if you please.