Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the folks behind Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End, a.k.a. the Cornetto trilogy, are taking on another series: Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London, an urban fantasy procedural in which aspiring detective Peter Grant finds himself working for The Folly, Scotland Yard’s department of supernatural beings. Frost and Pegg’s production company Stolen Picture will adapt the first book in the Peter Grant series for television (with Sony Pictures Television), with Aaronovitch also serving as an executive producer.
“Nick Frost and Simon Pegg asked me if I wanted to make Rivers of London with them—you think I was going to say no?” Aaronovitch said in the official press release. “Stolen Picture have a reputation for making creator-led TV with the minimum of corporate bollocks and the maximum of fun. It’s an opportunity I would be bonkers to say no to.”
Frost told Deadline: “Suddenly we were in a position where I said ‘there’s this book that I loved’ and it became available, more or less. I was chuffed to bits that I could get the rights to make it into a TV show. Everyone wants to potentially find the next Game of Thrones and the chance to turn Rivers of London into an eight-hour movie and hopefully find someone who will financially back that is a real draw.”
“This era we’re in now, TV has suddenly evolved into something far more cinematic, where you can tell stories and elaborate,” Pegg said. “A lot of books that are made into film are criticized for not being as good as the book, because they are contracted into something more simplistic. But what TV offers us now, which is a cinematic playing field, you can tell these stories with scope and get into creative detail.”
More about the novel, known as Midnight Riot in the U.S.:
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.
Rivers of London/Midnight Riot will make up the first season, which will be about 8-10 episodes. Future seasons might combine books. Aaronovitch shared his excitement for being so involved in the adaptation, especially where the story might branch off from the source material: “Nobody knows this world better than me; I can make stuff up that’s canon.”