‘Gormenghast’: Showtime Developing Fantasy Drama Adaptation From Fremantle, Toby Whithouse, Neil Gaiman & Akiva Goldsman

Aug 16, 2019

Showtime is developing a series based on author Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast novels, with Neil Gaiman and Akiva Goldsman among the executive producers. The project has a script-to-series order and is opening a writers room under creator and showrunner Toby Whithouse (Being Human, Doctor Who). Showtime will co-produce Gormenghast with Fremantle. Whithouse, Gaiman, Goldsman, Dante Di Loreto, Oliver Jones, Barry Spikings (The Deer Hunter) and David Stern (Howards End) are the executive producers.


The series will be based on Peake’s trilogy of fantasy novels: Titus Groan, first published in 1946, Gormenghast and Titus Alone. The author was at work on a fourth installment, Titus Awakes, at the time of his death in 1968. His widow, Maeve Gilmore, completed the book, which was published in 2011. Rights were acquired from Jonathan Sissons at PFD.


It marks the first television adaptation of the books since the BBC adapted the first two books – Titus Groan and Gormenghast – as a four-part series in 2000 with Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Christopher Lee starring.


Showtime was able to board the adaptation – the latest big-budget fantasy drama to be in the works – as it falls outside of Gaiman’s overall deal with Amazon. He told Deadline that he wanted to “take it to wherever will be the best home for it”.

He added, “The joy of trying to describe Gormenghast to people is one where words will fail you and that’s why there have been people who wanted to film Gormenghast ever since Peake wrote the first book. The BBC once tried but they were all making it in times when depicting the impossible on the screen was too difficult. 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.”


Whithouse added that he and his colleagues were working out how much of each book to put in each season. “The way that television just absolutely devours narrative means that it could be that we get [the first two] books into season one or much like American Gods, where season one ends halfway through the book.