‘Fleabag producer Two Brothers Pictures is developing a comedy drama based on British author Matt Haig’s memoir Reasons To Stay Alive for UKTV.
It marks a major scripted play for the Discovery and BBC-backed UK broadcaster, which has recently ramped up its activity in the genre with series such as Anna Paquin-fronted Pop co-production Flack.
The memoir tells the story of how Haig’s world caved in aged 24. He could see no way to go on living and the book tells the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.
Haig was a partier in his youth and was first blindsided by depression on the party island of Ibiza, suggesting it was “as though a butterfly was trapped”. The book, however, is funny with a number of lists including “things you think during your first panic attack”, “things you think during your 1,000th panic attack” and “things people say to depressives that they don’t say in other life-threatening situations”.
A number of celebrities have endorsed the book; Stephen Fry called Haig “astounding”, while Michael Palin said that he “brings a difficult and sensitive subject out of the darkness and into the light”. Ab Fab star Joanna Lumley said, “For anyone who has faced the black dog, or felt despair, this marvellous book is a real comfort, dealing sympathetically with depression, written with candour and from first-hand experience. I think it is a small masterpiece. It might even save lives.”
UKTV confirmed that it was working on the adaptation, although said that it was in the “very early stages of development”.
It is latest Haig project to be adapted; in 2017, Benedict Cumberbatch became attached to star in a remake of his novel How To Stop Time, which is being produced by Cumberbatch’s production company Sunny March and Studiocanal. Previously, Alfonso Cuaron, in a production capacity, was developing a feature based on Haig’s The Radleys, while Taika Waititi partnered with Brad Pitt’s Plan B to adapt The Last Family in England. Haig himself previously wrote on Paddington.
Meanwhile, All3Media-backed Two Brothers Pictures recently produced The Missing spin-off Baptiste, which debuts on the BBC shortly, and is making Kate Beckinsale-fronted drama The Widow for ITV and Amazon.’