Cayman author Sara Collins’s novel being adapted for British TV series

Award-winning local author Sara Collins‘s breakout novel ‘The Confessions of Frannie Langton‘ is being brought to life in a British television series featuring actress Karla-Simone Spence in the lead role, ITV has announced.

The series, which is already in production with filming being done in Wakefield, Yorkshire, is being personally adapted for TV by Collins herself.

“My joy cannot be restrained! Sorry but it’s going to be bare Karla Sophie Patrick love here from on,” Collins tweeted on her official Twitter account as she shared the ITV announcement on the four-part series.

On Wednesday, ITV, in a media statement, revealed the cast for the upcoming series which will see Spence, who has starred in ‘Blue Story’ and ‘Wannabe’, as Frannie Langton, “the protagonist born into a life of slavery who is fighting to tell her own story”.

Collins, through the ITV media statement, said, “So many authors write with their dream cast in mind so I was delighted at our table read to discover that ITV and the producers and director had assembled mine! This is an electric cast and I can’t wait to see their work. Every moment of watching them prepare their performances has been wonderful.”

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Collins, who was born in Jamaica and grew up in Grand Cayman, was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish prize for the novel, her first, which she described on her official site as “a gothic romance about the twisted love affair between a Jamaican maid and her French mistress in 19th century London.”

Actress Sophie Cookson of ‘The Trial of Christine Keeler’ and ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ fame stars as Madame Marguerite Benham and Patrick Martins who starred in ‘Redemption’ and ‘Blasts From The Past’ will play Laddie Lightning for the period drama.

The series will be produced by Carol Harding, who was behind ‘Unsaid Stories’, ‘My Name Is Leon’, ‘Agatha And The Curse of Ishtar’ and will be directed by Andrea Harkin of ‘The Trial of Christine Keeler’ fame.

Collins won international acclaim with her debut novel.

‘The Confessions of Frannie Langton’ was commissioned by ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill and ITV Drama Commissioner Chloe Tucker. Greg Brenman of ‘The Honourable Woman’, ‘Us’ and ‘Peaky Blinders’, Rebecca de Souza and Sara Collins will be executively producing the series.

“Sara Collins’ stunning adaptation of her own novel has attracted the most wonderful cast.  We are thrilled to be working with an ensemble of established, emerging and brand-new talent.  And with the brilliant Andrea Harkin directing, we couldn’t be happier,” Brenman and Souza said in a joint comment.

All3Media International acts as global partner for ‘The Confessions of Frannie Langton’, coordinating the drama’s international distribution.

Collins, who won the Costa first novel award in 2019 for the book, worked at Walkers and at Conyers Dill and Pearman as an attorney. She also served a head of the Human Rights Commission.

The Cayman Compass previously sat down with Collins to discuss her success and the turning point on her career you can watch that interview here:

About the book

‘The Confessions of Frannie Langton’, the ITV statement said, narrates Frannie’s journey “from a Jamaican plantation to the grand Mayfair mansion of celebrated scientist George Benham and his exquisitely beautiful wife, Madame Marguerite Benham.”

Left to right: Karla-Simone Spence, Sophie Cookson and Patrick Martins lead the line up. Photo credits (L-R):, Kim Hardy, David Reiss and Lucy Nuzum via ITV

Frannie is gifted to Benham by the man who owns her, John Langton, and is employed as a maid in the household.

“As the plot twists and turns, events take a fateful turn as the Benhams are found murdered in their beds, with Frannie lying next to Marguerite. Frannie is accused of murder; a murder she has no recollection of, other than she couldn’t possibly have killed her mistress because she was devoted to her,” it added.

Spence, who will play Frannie, said, “It’s an absolute honour and dream to bring to life the intelligent, forward thinking, resilient woman that is Frannie Langton.”

“Her journey truly is extraordinary and that’s all thanks to Sara Collins’ incredible writing of three-dimensional women. I hold Frannie dear to my heart and I’m really looking forward to unleashing her with Andrea Harkin and our talented cast,” she added.

Co-star Sophie Cookson, in the statement, said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining The Confessions of Frannie Langton. Sara Collins has written an evocative, haunting script with complex, multi-faceted women at its heart. I’m delighted to be working with Andrea Harkin again and an incredibly talented group of creatives.”

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