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British crime novel to be turned into Chinese TV series

By Wang Mingjie in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-10-30 23:05

A novel by British writer Jeffrey Archer will be adapted into a drama series for Chinese television in another example of the expanding ties between China and the United Kingdom in the cultural and creative industry.

The crime-thriller False Impression was a best-seller in 2005. It is an engrossing tale that spans the globe and centers on the disappearance of Vincent van Gogh's painting Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.

Archer is one of Britain's most famous novelists and has sold around 330 million copies of his books worldwide.

The British production company Wilson Worldwide Production, which is also known as WWP, has reached a deal with Canada's New Franchise Media, which owns the television and film rights to many of Archer's works, allowing the adaptation of the book for Chinese TV.

Archer expressed his delight at the deal and said he would be intrigued to see how the story will be received in China.

WWP has set its sights on the Asian market and especially China in recent years.

Josh Wilson, CEO of WWP, said: "We are very interested in the Chinese market as it has shown a growing appetite for British TV and film productions."

TV series from the UK have gone down well in China. The BBC's third season of Sherlock received almost 70 million views on video website Youku, while each episode of Downton Abbey has had around 160 million Chinese viewers.

In order to appeal to as many Chinese viewers as possible, the production team behind the filming of False Impression wants to blend in as many Chinese elements as possible.

Wilson said: "We are looking to make the heroine a Western-educated Chinese woman and possibly change the Tokyo scene from the novel to Hong Kong or Shanghai."

At the moment, the company has been in discussions with Chinese partners, including Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, Shanghai Media Group, and other Chinese internet platforms such as Tencent and iQiyi. The partnership is likely to be finalized shortly and there is expected to be between 10 and 13 episodes in the first season.

In 2015, a film production treaty was signed between China and the UK that facilitates eligible co-productions between the two nations being shown in Chinese movie theaters. Currently, China allows only 34 revenue-sharing, international titles in Chinese cinemas each year.

According to Pact, a UK trade association that represents the commercial interests of the makers of independent television and film, a television co-production agreement is set to be signed at the end of this year that is likely to open more doors for collaborations between the two countries.

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