C4 Adapting Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica


BAFTA-nominated director William Oldroyd is on board for Channel 4’s adaptation of the stage play Chimerica as a four-part series.

Based on Lucy Kirkwood’s critically acclaimed and Olivier Award-winning stage play, Chimerica explores the relationship between East and West, as well as other timely issues affecting society today. Set in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, the original play has been updated to reflect the political changes of the last two years and will touch on issues such as fake news, the undermining of political protest, the battle between present and future superpowers, the future of democracy itself and the manipulation of fact and image.

The series will be directed by Oldroyd in his television debut. William’s feature film Lady Macbeth was one of the most-nominated British independent films of the last year.

Chimerica is produced by Playground (Wolf Hall, Howards End, Little Women) with Colin Callender and Sophie Gardiner as executive producers.

Kirkwood said: “Since I wrote the original play in 2013, the questions it raises have only acquired greater scale and relevance for us all. It was thrilling for me to return to the story of two men, one American and one Chinese, trying to work out how to respond to the outrages of an increasingly outrageous world, and look through their eyes at our changing relationship with journalism, power, protest, and images themselves. I feel especially lucky to have William at the helm, and am very excited to have the chance to collaborate with him on this epic, international story.”

Beth Willis, head of drama at Channel 4, added: “It is such a privilege to have Lucy’s blisteringly brilliant voice on Channel 4. She picks away at the complexities of truth and of friendship in a way that is utterly gripping and illuminating. This is a treasure of a show and we are so proud to be working with Playground on it.”

Ian Katz, director of programs at Channel 4, said: “Lucy’s play was searingly relevant, thought-provoking and compulsive. I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to bring it to a TV audience, and to have such a fresh and exciting voice on the channel.”

Gardiner commented: “Lucy Kirkwood’s writing always speaks to the most contemporary and urgent of questions, with wit, and warmth and character. We are thrilled that director William Oldroyd will be the one to realize that most unique vision, and for it to have such a supportive home at Channel 4. It is the next and exciting step on Playground’s journey of providing smart and entertaining television drama.”

Callender said: “We’re delighted to be producing this with Channel 4. This is exactly the sort of contemporary thought-provoking drama that embodies the channel’s DNA. Everyone at Playground is very appreciative of the support from Channel 4 and all3media in bringing this timely drama to the screen.”