Kate Atkinson author of Life After Life

BBC commissions Kate Atkinson’s award winning Life After Life

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The BBC has commissioned a four-part adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s Costa Award winning Life After Life

Kate Atkinson has won the Costa Award for best novelist a staggering three times, first (when it was the Whitbread Award) in 1995 with her debut novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum and then with Life after Life in 2013. She won her third award in 2015 with A God in Ruins, a companion novel to her second winner. The book has been adapted by award-winning playwright and screenwriter Bash Doran (Traitors) and will be directed by Bafta Award-winning director John Crowley (Brooklyn, Boy A).

Ursula Todd dies one night in 1910, before she can draw her first breath. On that same night in 1910, Ursula is born and survives. She finds herself time and again, living and dying in different circumstances only to be reborn into a new, alternative iteration of life once more. Ursula navigates her way through a critical era which spans two world wars, an encounter with Hitler and plenty of major life events. But what is it that Ursula so desperately needs to stay alive for?

Each of Ursula’s alternative lives brings new challenges and half memories of what has come before, and with every one, fascinating, joyful, traumatic, witty and surprising experiences and relationships. Having an infinite number of chances to live her life, immense questions emerge: Can you ever lead a perfect life? Can you change the course of history? Can you save the world?

There’s an echo of the idea in The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (by Catherine Webb) the 2014 multi-award winning science fiction novel, but only in a small way. Atkinson’s novel has a lot of potential to be a compelling piece of TV drama, and we look forward to casting news.

Filming is due to start in spring 2021. You can find out more about Kate Atkinson on her website. The Costa Book Awards site is here.