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ITV Boards Christopher Hampton’s Six-Part Drama ‘The Singapore Grip’

ITV has ordered six-part drama “The Singapore Grip,” which Oscar-winning screenwriter and playwright Christopher Hampton (“Atonement,” “Dangerous Liaisons”) has adapted from J.G. Farrell’s novel.

An epic story set during World War II, “The Singapore Grip” centers on a British family living in Singapore at the time of the Japanese invasion. The series follows rubber merchant Walter Blackett, his wife, Sylvia, ruthless daughter Joan and spoiled son Monty as they live a life of luxury, seemingly untouched by the troubles in Europe. Things begin to unravel when Blackett’s business partner’s health deteriorates, leading Blackett to arrange the marriage of his daughter with his partner’s son, Matthew Webb, in order to ensure the future of their firm.

“As a great admirer and, eventually, a friend of J.G. Farrell, I was delighted to be invited to adapt ‘The Singapore Grip,’ a panoramic account of the disastrous loss of Singapore to the Japanese invaders in 1942,” Hampton said. “Close analysis of this great novel has only deepened my enthusiasm for the skill with which Farrell has combined the private story of the machinations, commercial and amorous, of the Blackett family and their struggle…to preserve and expand their prosperous rubber business with the unfolding of the cataclysmic events to which they remain totally oblivious.”

Hampton said the series will mainly follow the journey of Matthew Webb, “an idealistic innocent abroad” who finds himself “fiercely pursued by two beautiful women – an English heiress and a Chinese adventurer.”

Polly Hill, ITV’s head of drama, described “The Singapore Grip” as “a portrait of a society in decline as they cling to a world that is slowly crumbling.”

The series will be executive produced by Mammoth Screen’s Damien Timmer, whose recent drama credits include
“Poldark,” “The Witness For The Prosecution,” “Parade’s End,” “Victoria” and the upcoming “Vanity Fair” for ITV.

“For me, J.G. Farrell and Christopher Hampton is the absolute dream team – two of the finest writers this country has ever produced. Forty years after it was first written, bringing ‘The Singapore Grip’ to the screen is a passion project for all of us,” said Timmer.

The series will shoot in Asia this fall. Key crew and actors will be announced in the coming months. Mammoth Screen’s creative director Rebecca Keane developed the project with Timmer and Hampton, and Karen Thrussell from Mammoth will also executive produce.

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