Simon Beaufoy to Adapt Len Deighton's Spy Novels for TV

Simon Beaufoy - P 2012
Tim Whitby/Getty Images

Simon Beaufoy - P 2012

British producer Clerkenwell Films has inked a deal with the Oscar-winning writer of "Slumdog Millionaire" to bring the Bernard Samson character to the small screen.

LONDON – Oscar-winning writer Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) is set to turn his hand to adapting for television Len Deighton’s classic Cold War novels featuring iconic spy Bernard Samson.

British TV production banner Clerkenwell Films, co-founded by actor John Hannah and the company behind Misfits, is developing an 18-part series based on Deighton’s books.

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With more than 40 million book sales, Deighton’s Samson novels are regarded by some as his masterwork and one of the greatest spy stories of all time.

Covering a vast array of international locations from London to Berlin to Mexico City and California, the series follows the exploits of Samson, an ex-MI6 field agent drawn back into active duty in a quest to uncover the truth about his wife’s defection to the KGB.

Beaufoy said: ?"Deighton's masterful series of novels draws the hidden political map of the late 20th century. It is all here: murders, honey-traps and spy swaps, the double-dealing and maneuvering of nations jousting for position at the height of the Cold War, with Bernard Samson, the Bond with brains, giving it an almost Chandleresque sense of cool."

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Deighton added: ?"Writing it took well over 10 years of my life, and it was my hope and firm belief that some day a film company would want to bring the entire series of books to the screen. Now it has happened."

Clerkenwell Films chief executive Murray Ferguson said the "time is ripe" to adapt the books, "with the increasing international appetite for compelling and intelligent longform serial drama," a trend which has emerged during this year's MIP TV market.

"Set in London, Berlin, America and around the world, we will be casting from the premier league of international talent," Ferguson said.