‘Christie Watson’s The Language of Kindness, a story of acts of compassion in the nursing profession, is to be turned into a television series after Mammoth Screen, the British production company behind dramas including Poldark and Victoria, optioned the rights. The ITV-owned firm has set Rachel Bennette, who adapted Zadie Smith’s NW for BBC Two, to write.
The book, which comes out May 3 in the UK via publisher Chatto & Windus, is an account of the medical profession defined by acts of care, compassion, and kindness from birth to death and from A&E to the mortuary. Watson, who was a nurse for twenty years, tells stories including the nursing of a premature baby who has miraculously made it through the night, a patient’s agonising heart-lung transplant, and the hair-washing of a child fatally injured in a fire, attempting to remove the toxic smell of smoke before the grieving family arrive.
The novel sparked a bidding war between 14 publishers in 2016, all keen to sign up Watson, who has worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ and St Mary’s Hospitals and published novels including Tiny Sunbirds Far Away and Where Women Are Kings.
Mammoth Screen is now developing it for a television adaptation. Bennette, who was previously a script editor for BBC Films and Film Four, recently wrote on Channel 4 and Amazon’s Sony-produced Philip K. Dick adaptation Electric Dreams. She has also worked on BBC and Amazon drama Ripper Street as well as Lark Rise To Candleford.
The production company, run by Damien Timmer, is one of the hottest drama firms in the UK. It’s David Morrissey-fronted adaptation of China Miéville’s The City & The City launches on BBC Two this week and it is currently making series including a remake of J.G. Farrell’s novel The Singapore Grip for ITV, Peter Bowker-penned WWII drama World on Fire for BBC One and adaptations of Vanity Fair and Pride & Prejudice for ITV.’