Banijay Rights, John Preston Team for New Drama Series Runners

Banijay Rights has announced a new recurring drama series titled Runners, starring writer John Preston (pictured above left) and Executive Producer Ellie Wood (pictured above right) of Clearwood Films, the team behind Stonehouse and The Dig. staged.

Runners tells the story of the world’s first police force, the Bow Street Runners, who were formed in London in the 1740s, when it was facing a colossal crime spree.

The then Chief Magistrate of London, Henry Fielding (who also happened to be a celebrated novelist) decided to take on this criminal underworld by assembling a squad of police officers.

“This extraordinary story will tell how a group of just six police officers, none of whom had any training or experience, set out to enforce law and order in a utterly lawless society and set about solving one of the strangest cases of its time solve – one with momentous political and social repercussions,” the logline says.

Wood (“Bleak House”) previously produced the film adaptation of Preston’s novel The Dig for Netflix, starring Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan, and is producing his screenplay debut, Stonehouse, for ITV/BritBox International with Matthew Macfayden and Keeley Hawes.

Preston also wrote A Very English Scandal, which was adapted into a television drama starring Hugh Grant and Ben Wishaw.

Wood has an initial development deal with Banijay Rights, Banijay’s global distribution arm.

Banijay Rights will distribute Runners worldwide. They are also responsible for international sales for “Stonehouse”.

“The founding of the very first police force is one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever read,” said Preston. “The idea that a group of six could take on the power of London’s underworld is so rich and dramatic that it’s often hard to believe. But it just goes to show that history is often made by people doing extraordinary things against seemingly insurmountable odds.”

Wood said: “It’s exciting to be working again with John Preston on this phenomenal real-life story. This show is thoroughly researched, full of character, humor and written in John’s inimitable tone. The fact that the uncomfortable novelist who wrote Tom Jones also created the world’s first police force is just one of many surprises in this fascinating drama.”

Simon Cox, EVP of Content and Acquisitions at Banijay Rights, added: “‘Runners’ is a great story – set at the moment organized law and law were first introduced in the UK, it juxtaposes culture change, which would bring the land into a new order for centuries to come. It is exciting to once again work with John and Ellie on a project of this magnitude, and we are confident that the story of the Bow Street Runners’ early years will be compelling for audiences worldwide.” Banijay Rights, John Preston Team for New Drama Series Runners

Charles Jones

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