Shaftesbury, Company option Burrows’ Birder Murder Mysteries

The first partnership between the two companies, the project is expected to bring together a roster of Canadian and U.K. screenwriters.

handshake 4Toronto prodco Shaftesbury has teamed up with U.K.-based prodco Company Pictures to option Canadian author Steve Burrows’ Birder Murder Mystery series.

Comprised of six installments, the book series follows the adventures of detective and avid birdwatcher Domenic Jejeune – a Canadian transplant in a Norfolk, U.K., who uses clues from the birdwatching world to solve complex crimes. The first joint venture between the Murdoch Mysteries and all3media-owned Wolf Hall producers, this adaptation is expected to bring together a roster of Canadian and U.K. screenwriters, according to a release.

“Steve Burrows’ gripping books have engaged a vast audience of crime readers in Canada and the U.K. It will be exciting to see his homegrown stories reach an even larger audience with this new partnership,” added Shaftesbury chairman and CEO Christina Jennings in a statement.

A spokesperson for Shaftesbury confirmed to Playback Daily that it intends to adapt the property into a TV series, with Nick Hicks-Beach writing on the show. Additionally, executive producers on the project include Company’s Michelle Buck and Shaftesbury’s Jennings and Scott Garvie.

This partnership follows Shaftesbury’s other recent international efforts like Ireland/Canada copro Dead Still, produced with Dublin-based Deadpan Pictures; New Zealand/Canada copro The Sounds with South Pacific Pictures; and Canada/U.K. drama copro Departure, produced with Greenpoint Productions in association with Corus Entertainment for Global.

As well, Shaftesbury previously hired former UKTV exec Alexandra Finlay as its senior director, creative and coproductions – a U.K.-based position focused on expanding Shaftesbury’s relationships with international partners and copro opportunities.