David Morrissey.

Landing his second UK project, Blake Ayshford is adapting Louise Doughty’s novel Whatever You Love as a series which will star David Morrissey.

The thriller follows a woman who sets out to avenge the death of her nine-year-old daughter, the victim of a hit-and-run accident.

Her grief re-opens old wounds and she is haunted by memories of her passionate affair with the girl’s father, their marriage and her husband’s fling with another woman.

UK producer Eleventh Hour Films (Foyle’s War) is developing the project with Morrissey (The Walking Dead, Britannia), who will executive produce with Ayshford and Eleventh Hour creative director Paula Cuddy. Doughty will serve as an associate producer on the series.

Ayshford wrote Goalpost Pictures’ Fighting Season, which will premiere later this year on Foxtel, and an episode of Requiem, the BBC/Netflix supernatural drama/thriller created and co-written by Kris Mrksa and directed by Mahalia Belo.

His UK agent, Casarotto’s Jodi Shields, sent him the novel after he asked her to look out for UK-based projects. He then spent two weeks in London breaking down the novel with Cuddy, meeting Doughty and Morrissey and watching the actor on stage playing Marc Antony in Julius Caesar.

He tells IF: “Louise’s novel is a emotional portrait of a marriage wrapped in a strong mystery, rather than exploring one woman’s journey of grief. It is set in a small English town pre-Brexit but you can see the tensions that were unleashed after the Brexit vote.

“I’ve always wanted to adapt a story this raw and contemporary and to do it with talents such as David Morrissey and Eleventh Hour Films is wonderful.”

Morrissey will play the husband, described by Ayshford as quite a dark role.  No director or UK broadcaster is attached yet.

The producers are looking at the options of a four or six-part series. While Ayshford  will be the lead writer he is open to working with another writer to provide a different creative voice.

Doughty’s novel Apple Tree Yard was turned into a four-part series by UK producer Kudos, which starred Emily Watson and Ben Chaplin and was directed by Aussie Jessica Hobbs. Screened on BBC1 early last year, it drew an average audience of 7.1 million (a 25.6 per cent share) in a Sunday night slot.

Eleventh Hour’s drama credits includes Safe House (ITV), New Blood (BBC1) and Collision (ITV).


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