“Thatcher” set to rule again
by Naman Ramachandran
In the wake of The Queen [trailer, film focus], which followed Queen Elizabeth II’s life in the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death, Thatcher (see article) looks at the 17 days in the then British Prime Minister’s life leading up to Britain’s war with Argentina over the Falklands. Brian Fillis, who wrote the BBC drama Fear of Fanny, is writing the film for producer Damian Jones (The History Boys [trailer], Welcome to Sarajevo). No cast or director has been announced yet.
Classic TV drama Upstairs Downstairs gets a big screen makeover as veteran writer Fay Weldon pens a script for producers Mike Mansfield and Hilary McLaren Tipping. The much loved series follows the fluctuating fortunes of the upper-class Bellamy family and their domestic help in the early 20th century after the Boer War.
British history continues to be explored with Emma and Nelson, a look at the relationship of Lord Nelson, the hero of the Battle of Trafalgar, with his mistress Emma Hamilton. Harbour Pictures’ Nick Barton and Suzanne Mackie are developing the film, which is being written by Academy Award-winning writer-director-actor Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park, Separate Lies).
The Thirteenth Tale, based on the best-selling novel by Diane Setterfield, is being developed by Harry Potter producer David Hayman. Lastly, Paul Andrew Williams, who won critical acclaim for London to Brighton [trailer], is writing The Choir, about an elderly man whose life changes when he joins an unusual choir.
"The co-development of this diverse group of exciting projects further strengthens the bond between Pathe and the BBC, and I am delighted that this relationship has been facilitated by the strategic intervention of the UKFC", said David Thompson, head of BBC Films. Under the aegis of the UK Film Council’s Development Fund slate investment the Pathe/BBC films development fund is worth ₤300,000 annually.