×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Colin Callender’s Playground to Produce Series About Europe’s Refugee Crisis ‘New Odyssey’

LONDON — Colin Callender’s production company Playground has secured the rights to Guardian journalist Patrick Kingsley’s book “The New Odyssey – The Story of Europe’s Refugee Crisis.” The company is developing the property as a major TV drama series though its U.K. office, which is headed by managing director Louise Pedersen and creative director Sophie Gardiner.

Kingsley, who was named foreign affairs journalist of the year at the British Journalism Awards last year, was appointed in 2015 by the Guardian as its migration correspondent — the first such post at a newspaper — and the book is the result of his work.

Throughout last year, Kingsley traveled to 17 countries along the migrant trail, meeting hundreds of refugees making their journey across deserts, seas and mountains to reach Europe. His book is an account of those travelers’ stories — explaining who they are, what keeps them going, and how they do it. But it is also an account of all those who help or exploit them along the way.

Kingsley sought to humanize the crisis by telling the story from the inside. His wrote about riding trains with Hashem al-Souki, as he traveled from Syria to Sweden; drinking illicit moonshine with the kingpin smuggler Hajj, an obese Libyan law graduate who makes millions from his new trade; or walking with Fattemah Abu al-Rouse, the pregnant Syrian teacher who fears losing her baby as she treks through the Balkans.

Gardiner said: “‘The New Odyssey’ is an epic piece of journalism that provides an intimate account of the people caught up in one of the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II. We believe this can be television at its best — powerful, emotional and compelling storytelling that explores the complexities and human dimensions of the biggest story of our time.”

Playground is a New York- and London-based film, television and theater company that was founded in 2012 by Callender. The company set up its London office in 2015 to expand its presence in the U.K.

Recent productions include six-part miniseries adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall,” starring Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy and Jonathan Pryce for the BBC and PBS’ “Masterpiece,” and the television adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s “The Dresser,” starring Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins and directed by Richard Eyre for the BBC and Starz.

Playground is in pre-production in the U.K. on Kenneth Lonergan’s four-part miniseries adaptation of E.M Forster’s classic novel “Howards End” for the BBC.

More TV

  • Pete Davidson photographed by Peggy Sirota

    Pete Davidson Posts Unsettling Message, Deletes Instagram

    “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson posted a disturbing message Saturday morning stating he doesn’t “want to be on this earth anymore,” then deleted his Instagram account. In the post, Davidson wrote, “I’m doing my best to stay here for you but i actually don’t know how much longer i can last. all i’ve [...]

  • Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor

    Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor Arrested for Plotting Sex With Minor

    Disney Channel has severed ties with “Andi Mack” actor Stoney Westmoreland following his arrest for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old. “Stoney Westmoreland, an actor working on the series ‘Andi Mack,’ was arrested in Salt Lake City today,” a Disney Channel spokesperson said in a statement Friday. “Given the nature of [...]

  • Russian Doll

    TV News Roundup: Natasha Lyonne's 'Russian Doll' Sets Netflix Premiere Date

    On Friday’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for “Russian Doll” and Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Brexit” film has a premiere date on HBO FIRST LOOKS Showtime has released a new teaser for the upcoming comedy series, “Black Monday,” which will premiere Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The series stars and is executive produced by Don [...]

  • Vanity Fair Review

    TV Review: 'Vanity Fair'

    There’s something comforting about the predictability of a period piece novel adaptation in the Masterpiece Theater tradition. Knowing the story, or even just the rhythms of the genre, there are rarely many surprises. The women will toss off witticisms and cry careful, pretty tears; the men will steel their jaws and declare their love, ideally [...]

  • FILE - In this April 5,

    CBS Claims Commitment to Ending Harassment. Its Actions Say Otherwise (Column)

    At this point, a new breaking sexual harassment case at CBS isn’t exactly a surprise. Over and over again, powerful CBS company men from producers to executives to the ex-CEO himself have made headlines for propagating decades of harassment and abuse, with dozens of witnesses affirming that the pattern was business as usual. But as [...]

  • Willow ShieldsVariety Portrait Studio, Beautycon Festival

    'Hunger Games' Alum Willow Shields Joins Netflix Drama Series 'Spinning Out'

    Willow Shields has been cast in a series regular role in “Spinning Out,” the upcoming ice skating drama series at Netflix. She joins a cast that also includes Kaya Scodelario, who was announced as the series lead on Thursday, taking over the role originally held by Emma Roberts. Shields will star as Serena, Kat Baker’s (Scodelario) [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content