J.K. Rowling’s ‘The Casual Vacancy’ Being Adapted for the BBC

December 4, 2012 by  

A year and half after Harry Potter and Voldemort had their final showdown at the movies, author J.K. Rowling is getting ready to head to the small screen. The BBC has struck a deal to adapt The Casual Vacancy, Rowling’s first post-Potter work and her first adult publication. Don’t expect golden Snitches and hippogriffs this time around — the book is a relatively realistic affair, set in contemporary non-magical (some would say Muggle) England. More details after the jump.

Variety got the scoop on the BBC deal, which was struck with Rowling’s rep Neil Blair. The show will be produced by an independent company run by Blair and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban production consultant Rick Senat. Rowling is expected to be closely involved with the project.

Although all of her previous books (i.e., the Harry Potter series) have come to life as features, Rowling expressed her excitement that her new tome would be turned into a series. ”I’m thrilled that the BBC has commissioned The Casual Vacancy,” she said in a statement. “I always felt that, if it were to be adapted, this novel was best suited to television, and I think the BBC is the perfect home.”

Rowling’s novel first hit shelves this September. While it received mixed critical reviews, it still managed to hit bestseller lists, thanks no doubt to Rowling’s popularity. Here’s the official plot description:

When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

The series has been greenlit by the BBC and is on track to air in 2014 in the U.K. The number and length of the episodes has yet to be determined. No U.S. airdate has been announced, but given how beloved Rowling is on both sides of the Atlantic we can probably expect a Stateside release strategy to be announced sooner or later.

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