STV Studios breaks new ground after securing TV rights to 'hilarious, insightful' books
STV Studios has agreed a deal for the TV rights for writer and comedian Bella Younger’s debut book, The Accidental Influencer: How My Need to Get Likes Nearly Ruined My Life; along with Diary of a Drag Queen author Tom Rasmussen’s latest book, First Comes Love.
Both adaptations will see the Glasgow-based production company explore “younger-skewing material through lived experience stories”.
Younger is best known as her alter ego, Deliciously Stella, a parody wellness Instagram account which became an overnight viral phenomenon. But as Younger’s star began to rise, the pressures of being a social sensation began to take a disastrous toll on her mental health.
Described as “funny, bold and brutally honest”, The Accidental Influencer tells Younger’s tale - from the seed of the idea to ultimate burn-out, culminating in a stint at the Priory for social media addiction.
Meanwhile, First Comes Love is a “joyful and uplifting examination of the ubiquitous institution of marriage”.
Younger and Rasmussen will adapt their respective books for the screen, working closely with STV Studios Drama.
Sarah Brown, creative director of drama for STV Studios, said: “We’re incredibly excited about these projects, which will see us expand into a new space with particular appeal for younger audiences, and which exemplify our clear commitment to new voices and diverse lived experienced stories.
“We’re thrilled to be working closely with Bella and Tom on the scripts – both are huge talents, and we feel privileged to be developing their hilarious, insightful and sometimes heart-breaking personal stories for television.”
Recent STV Studios drama productions include the critically acclaimed Elizabeth is Missing, for which Glenda Jackson won a Bafta award and International Emmy and Bafta nominated The Victim, starring Kelly Macdonald.
The team is currently in production in Glasgow with Screw, a prison drama for Channel 4.
Earlier this month, STV announced that it had swung to a first-half profit, hailed continued record viewing figures and snapped up a stake in a Brighton-based production company.
Releasing results for the six months to the end of June, chief executive Simon Pitts said the group’s financial performance was running ahead of pre-Covid levels, with a strong advertising bounceback continuing into the early autumn.
On key financial measures, Glasgow-headquartered STV posted a 35 per cent year-on-year hike in revenues to £60.3 million, generating a profit before tax of £8.5m, compared with losses of £4.9m a year earlier. An interim dividend of 3.7p per share was declared, up from 3p at the same stage last year.
Pitts said the firm was emerging from the depths of the pandemic “stronger than ever”, with a cautious but generally upbeat outlook for the remainder of the year.
The group pointed to a strong second-half programme schedule on TV and online, including some 50 hours of new network drama and in excess of 30 new boxsets on the STV Player on-demand streaming service, which now has four million registered users, up 11 per cent.
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