September 21, 2008

Write on for Screen


WRITER Val McDermid had to make changes to her successful novel Place of Execution for its TV adaptation.

The novelist, who is based in Northumberland, was happy to make amendments to get the story on screen.

Val is already well-known to audiences as the creator of Wire in the Blood.

Place of Execution is a three-part story about journalist Catherine Heathcote's obsession with a child's disappearance in 1963.

Val gave an insight into how an already popular novel was transformed into a TV series including sharing her characters with series writer Patrick Harbinson.

She said: "A lot of what goes on in a book happens in the heads of your characters, which doesn't really make good television, so you have to develop a way of getting out of the character's head.

"It's interesting to find the visual characteristics of the people in the book and bring them to life.

"Catherine is a print journalist, but that doesn't work as well on screen so she became a documentary maker.

"In order to make the book work, I had to develop a narrator, which is Catherine, who becomes the reader's guide and takes them through the story from her perspective.

"For the TV adaptation, Patrick came up with the backwards and forwards aspect of the story and slowly the viewer will be able to piece bits to together."

She paid tribute to Coastal Productions, the Newcastle production company run by Robson Green and Sandra Jobling, for keeping the adaptation faithful.

She said: "Sandra Jobling - the executive producer - and I had been talking for a long time about how we could bring the book to television.

"It was important that we found the right person who could write the adaptation and screenplay.

"Right from the beginning we thought that Patrick Harbinson would be the best person for the job.

"One of the joys for me is being able to work with Coastal Productions.

" I feel they really understand my books and get excited about them."


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