A MAJOR UK production company has been visiting West Cork in recent weeks, with a view to making a TV series out of Graham Norton’s debut novel.
The BBC presenter’s first work of fiction, Holding, was positively received when it was published in 2016 and now it looks set to become a TV mini-series on ITV.
Executives from Blueprint Pictures, the company behind the Bafta-nominated Martin McDonagh film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, visited Sheep’s Head, Beara and Skibbereen in recent weeks.
They were carrying out research to scout for locations and background, and for ‘script development purposes’ as they are hoping to get the green light from ITV this year, to make a series based on the award-winning book.
Norton’s novel is based in a fictional West Cork town, after a body is found, prompting a rare murder investigation in this hitherto peaceful spot.
Blueprint’s head of television, Dominic Treadwell-Collins, has strong links with Skibbereen, as his father hails from Caheragh, and the family still owns a farm at Bunalun.
He told The Southern Star that making the series in West Cork would be a very special moment in his career. ‘I spent many holidays here, and even did some work experience in The Southern Star when I was a kid,’ he said. Treadwell-Collins is a former producer on Eastenders, and also created the hit spin-off, Kat & Alfie.
‘We can’t guarantee it, but we’d like it to be West Cork,’ Dominic confirmed, ‘because that is where Graham based it. My father was Michael Joseph Collins of Coolbawn, Caheragh, so I know the area really well – it would be nice to give something back.’
He was accompanied on his visit to West Cork by award-winning scriptwriter Simon Ashdown, who has also worked on Eastenders, and the Irish drama Raw.
During their visits to the area, the team also visited the offices of The Southern Star, which gets a mention in Graham’s book. ‘We wanted to see how a local paper here works, and also the relationship between the local community and the gardaí,’ Simon explained.
Delyth Scudamore, development executive (television) with Blueprint, also visited a number of possible locations during their visit.
The trio revealed that they will be recruiting a cast and crew if their initial proposal gets the go-ahead. ‘We hope to be filming later this year, if possible,’ Delyth said.
While the trio believe Durrus to be a good match for the fictional Duneen in Norton’s book, they cannot yet confirm where filming will take place.