‘Peaky Blinders’ Creator Steven Knight, ‘Happy Valley’ Star Sarah Lancashire Team on Shakespeare Series

“Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight is developing a drama series based on the life of William Shakespeare, based on a concept by double BAFTA-winning “Happy Valley” star Sarah Lancashire.

The series is being developed with Banijay U.K.’s Kudos and Lancashire’s production company, Via Pictures, which she formed with Peter Salmon. It will be written by Knight and will be produced out of his Digbeth Loc. Studios in Birmingham by Kudos, in association with Via.

The drama will tell the complete story of the glove-maker’s son who became the greatest storyteller in history and how his genius survived and thrived in an age of turmoil and terror, danger and disease. It aims to be the first full account of the passion, people and politics that made William Shakespeare the world’s most famous dramatist and the men and women around him who loved and labored, schemed and plotted, killed and connived in one of the most dangerous periods in history.

The series, which isn’t currently attached to a broadcaster, will be executive produced by Karen Wilson and Martin Haines for Kudos, by Lancashire and Salmon for Via, and Knight.

Lancashire said: “Via Pictures are very pleased to be collaborating with Kudos and the brilliant Steven Knight to screen the remarkable story of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries. This is a thrilling project about a golden age beset by plague, Puritanism and deadly politics.”

Knight added: “I’m excited to be embarking on what will be a landmark TV production telling the dramatic story of the world’s most accomplished writer. It’s a period I love and the team that has been put together is extraordinary. It’s a story that begins in the West Midlands and is close to my heart.”

Karen Wilson and Martin Haines, joint managing directors for Kudos, said: “Sarah’s idea has huge scale and high drama, and with Steven Knight writing, this is an unbelievably exciting project which we can’t wait to get on screen.

This is the third project to be announced from the Kudos-Knight creative partnership, set up to generate a pipeline of scripted production to be realized in Birmingham.

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