Banijay Rights Reunites with Stonehouse Team for Runners


Banijay Rights has boarded Runners, a new series about the world’s first police force, reuniting with the team behind Stonehouse and The Dig.

Writer John Preston and executive producer Ellie Wood of Clearwood Films have joined forces again for the drama, which chronicles the creation of the Bow Street Runners in the late 1740s in London.

Runners tells the story of how author Henry Fielding, then chief magistrate of London, founded the group of just six police officers to impose law and order on a lawless society. Banijay Rights will distribute the series globally.

This marks the third collaboration between Preston and Wood. Wood produced Preston’s novel, The Dig, which was adapted into a feature film starring Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan for Netflix. Wood also produced Preston’s forthcoming screenwriting debut, the ITV/BritBox International drama Stonehouse, telling the story of the titular disgraced Labour politician and starring Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes. Banijay Rights handles global distribution for the series.

“The founding of the first ever police force is one of the most astonishing stories I have ever come across,” Preston said. “The idea that a band of six people could take on the might of London’s underworld is so rich and dramatic that it often beggars belief. But it just goes to show that history is often made by people doing extraordinary things in the face of what appear to be insurmountable odds.”

“It is thrilling to be working with John Preston again on this phenomenal real-life story,” Wood said. “This show is deeply researched, packed full of character, humor and written in John’s inimitable tone. The fact that the philandering 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, executive VP of content and acquisitions at Banijay Rights, said, “Runners is lined up to be a terrific tale—set at the moment where organized law and order were introduced to Britain for the very first time, a juxtaposition of cultural change that would set the country to a new order for centuries to come. To work again with John and Ellie on a project of this stature is exciting, and we’re in no doubt the story of the Bow Street Runners’ early years will be a gripping one for global audiences to enjoy.”