1984 Big Brother is Watching You

Stage version of George Orwell’s 1984 to be adapted for TV

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A stage play of George Orwell’s seminal novel, 1984, is to be adapted for television — is there more to come?

Deadline is reporting former ABC chief Paul Lee’s independent studio wiip has taken the rights to Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s 2013 stage show based on the classic Orwell novel. The novel was published in 1947; the stage show was first performed in Nottingham in 2013. It later had three runs in the West End. The stage version was noted for its graphic reimagining of the original 1984 story (and see our review here), with reports of audience members being made ill. There’s no word (yet) on far how this adaptation will go in terms of depiction of torture as the original 100 minutes is turned into a five-part limited series. No word either on how this will be brought to a TV audience.

George Orwell died in 1950 in University College Hospital London, so under British copyright law (at least, Europe is the same) the 70-year rule means anyone is able to adapt any of Orwell’s works as they see fit without needed permission. The subject is complex as the wiki entry makes clear.

We would be surprised if this new telling made our screen before 2023, and with 2024 being only one year later and forty years after the book is set, we imagine that might be when it appears. Until then the novel is widely available in paperback form.