Sony Pictures Television-backed Eleventh Hour Films has optioned documentary maker Chris Atkins’s prison diaries “A Bit of a Stretch.”
The book covers Atkins’s time in notorious U.K. prison HMP Wandsworth – one of Europe’s oldest and largest prisons – where he served a five-year sentence for a tax scheme related to funding one of his films.
“A Bit of a Stretch,” which is published today by London-based publisher Atlantic Books, includes a cast of characters ranging from cunning drug dealers to senior officials bent on endless reform, all of which illustrate the prison’s dysfunction, and the wider scale of the U.K.’s prison crisis.
Paula Cuddy, creative director of Eleventh Hour Films, said: “Hilarious, horrifying and heart-breaking. This book is a wake-up call, a shocking and surprising insight into modern prison life. I read it in one sitting. With Chris, Eleventh Hour Films is delighted to have this exciting opportunity to redefine the prison TV drama.”
Atkins added: “Prison was a dark and traumatic place, but it was also full of humor, humanity and fascinating characters. I can’t wait to bring this surreal and dysfunctional world to screen.”
The deal was brokered by Luke Speed on behalf of Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown Group.
Eleventh Hour Films is currently in post-production on a long-awaited adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’s YA spy series “Alex Rider.” The series stars Otto Farrant as Alex Rider, alongside Stephen Dillane, Vicky McClure and Andrew Buchan. The company’s slate includes ITV’s “Safe House,” BBC One’s “New Blood,” ITV’s “Foyle’s War” and ITV’s “Collision.”