A TV series based on the Gormenghast series of books has long been an ambition of horror and fantasy Author Neil Gaiman (Sandman, American Gods). Following FremantleMedia’s acquisition of the rights, that dream now seems a reality.
The novels follow the adventures of Titus, 77th heir to the throne of Groan who has to contend with the machinations of the murderous and ambitious Steerpike as well as those of his twisted family. Readers love the dark, Gothic sensibilities of the books and the late Peake’s linguistic inventiveness. He also had a gift for macabre characterization, something that he shares with Gaiman. These would be qualities perfect for a thrilling TV adaptation.
The BBC made two of Peake’s books into a four part BBC miniseries in 2000. That series starred Horror legend Christopher Lee as Flay, the Lord’s loyal servant. The series also starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the villainous Steerpike.
Gaiman has long desired to bring the phantasmagorical epic to the screen. In fact, he wrote about the project on Twitter as far back as 2015. Gaiman, who Executive produces the Starz channel drama American Gods (pictured above) for FremantleMedia recently signed a multi-year deal with media company.
Speaking with Deadline, Gaiman said,
“There is nothing in literature like Mervyn Peake’s remarkable Gormenghast novels. They were crafted by a master, who was also an artist, and they take us to an ancient castle as big as a city, with heroes and villains and people larger than life that are impossible to forget. There is a reason why there were two trilogies that lovers of the fantasy genre embraced in the Sixties: Lord of the Rings, and the Gormenghast books. It’s an honor to have been given the opportunity to help shepherd Peake’s brilliant and singular vision to the screen.”
Also to Deadline, Dante DI Loreto, Fremantle’s head of scripted entertainment, said,
“Nothing combines a dark atmosphere with humour and intrigue the way Gormenghast does.”
Many fans of the genre consider the books as one of the finest fantasy series of the twentieth century. Gaimain will serve as executive producer on the project, alongside Oscar-winning writer Akiva Goldsman. Barry Spikings will also executive produce, along with David Stern.