A Discovery of Witches TV
News on the television adaptation of A Discovery of Witches and the All Souls Trilogy.Jane Tranter and Bad Wolf will be producing the series. I will also be serving as executive producer, and will write several episodes.
Cast and Production Gallery
Learn More About the TV Series
Jane and Bad Wolf represent my dream team for bringing the trilogy to life. Every conversation we have had about the books shows how thoroughly they understand the All Souls World and how deeply they’re committed to creating something very special with this series.
A glance at the projects they’ve been involved with—including the reboot of Dr. Who, Life on Mars, Waking the Dead, MI5/Spooks, Torchwood, David Copperfield, Silent Witness, Ashes to Ashes, The Way We Live Now, and Rome—makes it clear that they are drawn to compelling characters and storylines with twists that keep viewers tuning in for each new episode.
At the moment we are unable to confirm the involvement of a broadcaster, either in the US or the UK, though we hope to make this announcement soon. In the meantime, I know my readers will give Jane and her team at Bad Wolf full support and encouragement as they tackle this huge undertaking.
“Passing by the dome of the Radcliffe Camera, where the undergraduates read their assigned books, and the medieval walls of Jesus College, I went shopping along the aisles of Oxford’s Covered Market.”
I’ve just returned home from Oxford. I joined the cast and crew during their week filming in the city of dreaming spires. We saw lots of fans, and it was magical to be there at exactly the right time of year.
Here are some pictures taken by me and other members of the crew that refer back to the sentence above to help put you in the mood for Matthew and Diana’s romantic dinner.
Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer) out and about Oxford.
Photo of the Radcliffe Camera captured by a member of our fabulous crew, Jake Pope. (jakep5552 on Instagram). Only a professional could have captured this glorious shot!
“Racks of white and yellow boats greeted me inside. There were big, eight-seated boats for the first men’s crew, slightly leaner boats for the women, and other boats of decreasing quality and size.”
The fact is, I really did row at Oxford. Between 1991 and 1993 (while I was researching my PhD dissertation as a Fulbright Scholar) I was a member of the Keble College Boat Club, and competed in the Women’s Second Eight and the Women’s First Eight. For a few weeks I was even in the Women’s Blue Boat Development Squad–but a combination of my academic obligations and my status as a non-matriculated student put the brakes on that plan! Rowing really did save my life during some pretty stressful years, when it would have been all too easy for me to stay in the library or my room and never go outside. In the boat club I got exercise, mental space, and the comradeship of some extraordinary women and men I still call friends more than two decades later. (KEEEEE-BULLLLLE)
Teresa Palmer, our Diana, has been in training for the rowing scenes in A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, and we have been out and about scouting locations in Oxford. Rowing is a beautiful sport, and we can’t wait to bring it’s beauty and power to the screen!
It’s never too late to start rowing, by the way. Check your local area for rowing clubs and boat houses that offer lessons. It’s a fantastic, low-impact sport that improves cardiovascular function, muscle strength, balance–and teamwork.
After last week’s big announcements, I wanted to start introducing you to the production team for the A Discovery of Witches television adaptation. First up is Kate Brooke, our showrunner and head writer.What is a showrunner, you ask? Kate wears a hundred hats, but her most important one has to do with keeping a steady hand on the creative rudder of the entire show. That’s a big job, and it takes a formidable set of skills. First, she has to be an excellent writer, because the showrunner is the head writer for the project. In this case, Kate is scheduled to write half of the episodes for our first season including the first and last episodes. Second, she has to be a great manager, because she oversees the writers’ room. Television shows are seldom written by one person; instead there are lots of writers at work, and they move in and out of the project. The showrunner, however, is a fixture for the whole season. At the moment, Kate has three writers in the room, as well as a script editor (you’ll meet them all here one day!). Kate makes sure all the scripts are consistent in tone, manages work flow, and makes sure that all the other departments involved in the production have what they need to do their particular jobs.
Kate is an experienced screenwriter and showrunner with a background in English literature. For the curious, yes, she did graduate from Oxford so she knows Diana’s world and the city very well. Since her time at university, Kate has done impressive work for several broadcasters in the UK. Her most recent success was as writer and showrunner for Mr. Selfridge, the hugely popular period drama that was screened on ITV and PBS. Kate also wrote for many other television films and series including Case Sensitive, The Making of a Lady, The Ice Cream Girls, and The Forsyte Saga.
I’ve learned so much about screenwriting working with Kate, and its been such a privilege to have her on the project. Kate has an amazing ability to grasp character and to imagine creative ways to bring a character from page to screen. Take Diana. In the books, Diana shares a lot of her journey with us through reflection—something that doesn’t work so well on tv or in film unless most of what you see has a voice over! Kate is able to bring Diana’s transformation to vivid, visual life by placing her in new situations, sharpening dialogue so that we can hear what Diana is thinking, and leaving enough room in the scripts for the director and actors to do their part in making the words come alive with emotion and power.
In addition, Kate and I have had many, many conversations about how we can enrich the viewing experience of the television show while still remaining faithful to the spirit of the book. After all, the books are mostly told from Diana’s perspective. We only know what she knows, with a few exceptions. Adapting the books for television allows Kate to develop other perspectives—whether it be what Knox was doing before he comes to Oxford and meets Diana, or what Miriam and Marcus are doing in the lab, or what Sarah and Em are eating for breakfast in Madison. It’s been enormous fun to bring a wider view to the screen, and to work with Kate to share what I knew was happening elsewhere when Diana and Matthew were getting to know each other in Oxford.
You can follow Kate on Twitter at the handle @KateBrooke2 if you want to welcome her to the All Souls family.
First shots, from the Bad Wolf studios in Wales, of our production team meeting.
We’re truly honoured and excited to be making A Discovery Of Witches. Bad Wolf is spending time and effort to make sure that the adaptation of Deb’s amazing work is a genuine television event and now we have a home for the production in Wales we can really begin to bring the All Souls Trilogy to life. Thank you to all the fans for their patience as we prepare behind the scenes.
It’s time for my monthly update on all things All Souls.
Today is a rarity for me, because I’m taking two days for R&R after some productive meetings about the television adaptation with Bad Wolf in Wales. Two. Whole. Days. We are all going in so many different directions these days. Just taking some well-earned time to rest, reflect, recover, recharge has become a precious luxury and rarity. Back in the early modern period, “free time” was a relatively novel idea. Until then, the need to survive kept a concept of leisure at bay. Then, in the 18th century leisure became the province of the upper classes, then the middle classes in the 19th century, and finally in the 20th century (LABOR DAY!) even the working classes were given some time to enjoy life. I think we might be going all medieval when it comes to our sense of leisure, thinking that working all the time is normal and that there is no such thing as down time.
Today I’ve planned some dinner menus, colored in my favorite Johanna Basford coloring book THE SECRET GARDEN, played with the dog, went out to lunch, and now I’m going to take care of myself with some acupuncture. I know that some time off now will inspire me and make life (and work) better in the days and weeks ahead.
So here’s the news at the moment:
ADOW TV: As I said, I just got back from three intense and rewarding days with the production and writing teams for the television adaptation of ADOW. Remember, I can’t share news about broadcasters, schedules, etc. That’s up to the production team. What I can tell you is that we are really diving into the nitty-gritty aspects of adapting the book to the small screen. We are having long discussions about what we can tweak, what has to remain exactly the same, and what we just can’t manage to do faithfully so we aren’t going to do it at all. Take the yoga scene, for instance. We all love the yoga scene. It makes us smile due to the absurd perfection of creatures doing yoga. Just try putting this in a script in a way that invites gentle amusement instead of eye-rolling and disdain. Not easily done. I’d rather we all kept it in our mind’s eye than ruin it with an awkward on-screen attempt. Every detail of the books has to be discussed in this way, which is why it is taking a long time to bring it to you. But it will all be worth it when the series is faithful in tone, feeling, and character to the books even if it differs in detail.
WRITING: I’m also writing. I’m writing all the time. I’m not always sure what I’m writing, as the Bishops and de Clermonts continue to be their own stubborn, elusive, and opinionated selves. But it’s an adventure every day when I sit down and find out what’s on their mind and what they want to share!
REAL-TIME READING: We started this year’s real-time reading on Sunday, and if you missed that you haven’t missed much. Tomorrow is the fateful day when Matthew and Diana first meet in the Bodleian, so there’s plenty of time to jump on the wagon and join in the fun. We are using tags #RealTimeReadingADOW and #deborahharkness across all major social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+) so take photos or share old photos of your experiences with the All Souls trilogy. Scroll through the previous week’s posts here for further information on the Real-Time Reading and my first post.
EVENTS: It looks as though there will be some upcoming events in London and Los Angeles and again in London that are tied to my academic life in October and December respectively. I’ll keep you updated here in case you are interested, once I have details. As you know, my academic and fictional worlds are closely intertwined! And of course if additional events get planned around my academic travels I will let you know that, too.
Meanwhile, be sure to rest and recharge.
Wishing a Merry Mabon to those of you who celebrate it, and a peaceful transition into autumn.
The writer for the A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES TV series, Ashley Pharoah, has a great view from his desk tonight, too! :) You can follow him on Twitter @AJPharoah.
PS. We can’t divulge broadcasters yet, and the broadcast date is not set either. Keep checking back!