Sony-Backed ‘Alex Rider’ Producer Eleventh Hour Films Options British Mosque Drama ‘This Green and Pleasant Land’ For TV

Sony-backed British producer Eleventh Hour Films is adapting Ayisha Malik’s The Casual Vacancy-esque novel This Green and Pleasant Land for television.

The company has optioned the novel, which was published this week by Bonnier Zaffre, with a view for a small-screen remake.

The book follows the story of the only Muslim family in middle-class white Britain, whose lives are turned upside-down following a dying wish for a mosque to be built in the village. It is described by the publishers as “a witty mediation on race politics, what it means to be British, and the complexities of personal identity”.

It tells the story of Bilal Hasham and his wife Mariam, who have lived contented, quiet lives in the sleepy rural village of Babbel’s End. Now all that is about to change. On her deathbed, Bilal’s mother reaches for his hand. Instead of whispering her final prayers, she gives him a task: build a mosque in his country village. Mariam is horrified by Bilal’s plan. His friends and neighbours are unnerved. As outrage sweeps Babbel’s End, battle lines are drawn. His mother’s dying wish reveals deeper divisions in their village than Bilal had ever imagined. Soon Bilal is forced to choose between community and identity, between faith and friendship, between honouring his beloved mother’s last wish and preserving what is held dear in the place that he calls home.

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The production company, which sold a stake to Sony Pictures Television last year, described it as a “a brilliant premise with relatable characters, delivering an entertaining and clever story for our times.”

Eleventh Hour Films is currently producing a remake of teen superspy drama Alex Rider for the Hollywood studio and are also working on a anthology UFO drama series Rendlesham, which will star and exec produce The Matrix and CSI star Laurence Fishburne. Previous credits for the fimr, which is run by Jill Green, who produced the George Clooney-fronted feature film The American, include Foyle’s War and Safe House for ITV and New Blood for BBC One

Malik said, “I’m delighted with Eleventh Hour Films optioning This Green and Pleasant Land. Their insight and vision for the adaptation shows their understanding of what the book is trying to achieve – I believe they’re going to do something amazing when it comes to adapting it for television… I am beyond pleased.”

Malik is repped by the Peters Fraser Dunlop agency.

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