Advanced Television

Studio Crook to adapt Lilly Valentine

November 6, 2023

Brighton-based production company Studio Crook has acquired the rights to develop the first of Helen Black’s Lilly Valentine legal book series, Damaged Goods, into a returning television drama series Valentine (6×60’).

Black, an ex-lawyer, became known for her popular crime novels based on her own experiences before turning to script writing including co-writing season 2 of Jimmy McGovern’s prison drama Time, which is currently airing on BBC One.

Lilly Valentine is the third book title optioned by Studio Crook for TV, and having won investment from Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund earlier this year, this acquisition marks a huge expansion into the scripted market for the Studio and fits in with the company’s ambitions to work with writers who bring different and unique perspectives to the screen. The company is also developing two other book titles for TV and working with an award-winning author, with further news to follow in the coming weeks.

Valentine follows the hurricane Lilly Valentine, an (almost) divorced single mother on the wrong side of forty, with an ancient cottage that’s ‘only still standing through the power of hope’. It’s fair to say Lilly has a lot of plates spinning that she can’t always keep up with. But if there’s one thing Lilly excels at, it’s her job at a local Oldham law firm. She will go to any length to help her clients, at the expense of both her son and her nearly ex-husband.

Black said: “Lilly Valentine was the first character I ever created, and readers couldn’t get enough of her courage and her flaws in equal measure. She’s a working class scrapper, a lawyer who won’t give up on her clients and I love seeing characters like Lilly on TV; seemingly ordinary yet magnificent women with so much on their plate yet still the funniest people you’ll meet. Having worked previously with Studio Crook’s Head of Scripted Justine Potter on my first commission, I know that Lilly is in good hands.”

Crook added: “Lilly Valentine is a force of nature, and from the first page of Damaged Goods we knew we had to bring her to the screen. It’s a pleasure to work with Helen Black on adapting her work, the series is just brilliantly entertaining, heartbreaking and universally relatable in equal measure which is exactly the type of story we want to tell.”

The Lilly Valentine series was published by Harper Collins and sold in multiple languages around the world. The deal was brokered by Helen Black’s agent, Frances Arnold at Rochelle Stevens & Co.

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