ITV has commissioned The Singapore Grip, adapted by Christopher Hampton (Atonement, Dangerous Liaisons) from Booker Prize winner J.G. Farrell’s novel.
The Singapore Grip is an epic story set during World War II, centering on a British family living in Singapore at the time of the Japanese invasion. Mammoth Screen, behind such successes as Poldark and The Witness for the Prosecution, is producing.
ITV’s head of drama, Polly Hill, said: “The Singapore Grip is a portrait of a society in decline as they cling to a world that is slowly crumbling. I’m delighted to be working with Christopher Hampton and for ITV to be the home for his brilliant adaptation of J.G Farrell’s epic novel.”
Hampton commented: “As a great admirer and, eventually, a friend of J.G.Farrell, I was delighted to be invited to adapt The Singapore Grip, a panoramic account of the disastrous loss of Singapore to the Japanese invaders in 1942. Close analysis of this great novel has only deepened my enthusiasm for the skill with which Farrell has combined the private story of the machinations, commercial and amorous, of the Blackett family and their struggle—described with Farrell’s trademark subversive wit—to preserve and expand their prosperous rubber business with the unfolding of the cataclysmic events to which they remain totally oblivious until it’s too late. Matthew Webb, our bespectacled protagonist, an idealistic innocent abroad, lands in the middle of all this, to find himself fiercely pursued by two beautiful women—an English heiress and a Chinese adventurer—and his story, with its tumultuous backdrop, is told in a style with echoes of Tolstoy and Evelyn Waugh, but still, unmistakably, the unique voice of Jim Farrell.”
Damien Timmer, executive producer for Mammoth Screen, said: “For me, J.G. Farrell and Christopher Hampton is the absolute dream team—two of the finest writers this country has ever produced. Forty years after it was first written, bringing The Singapore Grip to the screen is a passion project for all of us. It’s an exceptionally well-crafted novel which has been adapted with unique flair and mischief by Christopher. It’s a privilege to be making this for ITV, and we hope this hugely ambitious and exotic saga will be a memorable treat for the audience.”