Showtime has picked up a new adaptation of Mervyn Peake’s ‘Gormenghast‘ novels, from Toby Whithouse, Neil Gaiman & Akiva Goldsman it has been announced today.
Peake’s novel series follows the inhabitants of Castle Gormenghast, a sprawling, decaying, gothic-like structure, ruled by the noble family of Groan since time immemorial. The first novel begins with the birth of Titus Groan, heir to the throne and a focus of the later novels, but centres on the rise to power of Steerpike, a scheming kitchen boy. The second book follows Titus from the age of seven to seventeen, as he struggles with the rigid formalities 77th earl and lord of Gormenghast, along with the downfall of Steerpike. The third book sees Titus leave Gormenghast and travel to various parts of the world, only leading him to realise the importance the castle has to his identity.
Although Gaiman does have an overall deal with Amazon, that covers adaptations of his work and future projects, so this would fall outside of that contract. Speaking to Deadline, who broke the news, he commented that he wanted to “take it to wherever will be the best home for it.”
“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,” Gaiman added. “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.”
Gaiman is having a busy couple of years right now. This will be his 4th recent tv project following his adaptation of ‘Good Omens’, his upcoming ‘Sandman’ series for Netflix, and the incoming 3rd Season of ‘American Gods’ for Amazon. He will have some help here though, as he is joined by ‘Being Human’ creator and ‘Doctor Who’ writer Toby Whithouse, along with Akiva Goldsman whose recent work includes ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and DC’s ‘Titans’ series.
Mervyn Peake completed three novels in the ‘Gormenghast’ series, Titus Groan, Gormenghast, and Titus Alone, before Mervyn he passed away in 1968. Peake had started writing a fourth novel, Titus Awakes, but died before it’s completion, however his widow, Maeve Gilmore, later finished the book which was eventually published in 2009 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Peake’s birth.
Toby Whithouse is set as EP and showrunner on the series and will develop it alongside exec producers Gaiman & Goldsman. Dante Di Loreto, Oliver Jones, Barry Spikings (‘The Deer Hunter’) and David A. Stern (‘Howards End’) also exec produce. ‘American Gods’ producer Fremantle and Showtime serve as the production companies.
It’s still way too early for a premiere date for ‘Gormenghast‘, but should air on Sky Atlantic in the UK, due to their carriage deal with Showtime. We’ll let you know when we hear more.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.