Benedict Cumberbatch’s production company SunnyMarch has secured the TV rights to the first novel in a new historical crime series by Ambrose Parry, set in the medical world of Edinburgh in the 1840s. Ambrose Parry is a pseudonym for bestselling author Chris Brookmyre and his wife Dr Marisa Haetzman, a consultant anaesthetist. The novel will be published in August this year.
The novel is set in Edinburgh in 1847, “a dual city, at once a place of sophistication that is home to brilliant advances in medical science, and a city of great poverty with a truly unsavoury, violent side”. Will Raven is an aspiring young doctor, apprenticed to the esteemed professor of midwifery, James Young Simpson. After a string of mysterious deaths in the city, Raven begins to pick his way through the dark motives and powerful alliances that are concealing the truth.
Chris Brookmyre is the best-selling author of 21 novels, many set in Glasgow, including Black Widow, winner of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Dr Marisa Haetzman is a consultant anaesthetist whose research for her Master’s degree in the History of Medicine uncovered the material upon which this novel was based. Brookmyre and Haetzman have been married for 26 years.
Marshall, Executive Producer at SunnyMarch, says, “Marisa and Chris have crafted a brilliant world from the real lives of remarkable men and women who made their mark in the history books and changed the face of medicine. We are incredibly excited about expanding on the themes and characters to make a bold, ambitious and thrilling drama series about young, restless, and flawed junior doctors. It’s a story about identity, sex and ambition shot through with a sense of modernity.”
SunnyMarch’s TV arm, supported by StudioCanal, produced the adaptation of Ian McEwan’s The Child in Time for BBC One in co-production with Masterpiece. The company’s next TV project, Patrick Melrose, a five-part series based on the novels by Edward St Aubyn, penned by David Nicholls and directed by Edward Berger, will air on Sky Atlantic and Showtime in May. Many of the scenes were filming in Glasgow, so production of the forthcoming Ambrose Parry series may include a return to the city.
When publication of the novel was announced, the authors said: “We are utterly thrilled that Canongate will be publishing The Way of All Flesh. This is a novel steeped in Edinburgh’s social, cultural and medical history (scenes of which take place literally on the Canongate) and we know that their passion for seeing this world brought to life matches our own.”