Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Adapting Charles Paris

On the Writers' Guild website, Jeremy Front explains how he came to adapt The Charles Paris Mysteries by Simon Brett for BBC radio.
Adapting the work of a dead novelist has its own problems, not least of which is making the work your own whilst staying true to the spirit of the original. If I take liberties (and I’m sure I have) with Evelyn Waugh or Anton Chekhov, I may incur the wrath of their devotees, but the authors are unlikely to accost me outside Soho House. Simon and I had never met, but I knew he was very much alive and well. I was assured, however, that he (and the BBC) had given me free rein to go with my instincts and take the radio version in whatever direction I felt it should go.

In the end this meant keeping the basic structure of the murder mystery plot, over which I storylined and a whole new parallel narrative for Charles, Frances and Paris’s useless agent, Maurice (Jon Glover). The upshot of so much change was that all the dialogue and Charles’s laconic narrations would be new and original writing.
The new Charles Paris series, Cast in Order of Disappearance, continues on Radio 4 at 11.30am on Fridays until 19 February. Episodes are also available for a week after broadcast on BBC iPlayer.

A Series Of Murders and The Dead Side of the Mic are available on BBC Audio.

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