The haunting of Shirley Hitchings is getting made into not one, but two Blumhouse TV series. BBC Radio 4’s The Battersea Poltergeist, which tells the story of the “strange events focused around Shirley Hitchings in 1956,” will be adapted into both a scripted series and a documentary series by Blumhouse, which is teaming up with Michael Seitzman’s Maniac Productions to adapt the longest documented poltergeist haunting in history.
Blumhouse TV and Michael Seitzman’s Maniac Productions announced that it has won the rights to BBC Radio 4’s The Battersea Poltergeist podcast, in an ultra competitive bidding situation.
The docu-drama podcast, which was written and presented by Danny Robins, tells the story of the “the strange events focused around Shirley Hitchings in 1956 that were investigated over a 12-year period, the longest documented poltergeist haunting in history.” It starred Dafne Keen (Logan) and Toby Jones (The Dark Crystal), and was a huge success for BBC Radio 4, becoming the #1 drama podcast worldwide on Apple podcasts and earning nearly 3 million streams. It was co-produced by Robins with Simon Barnard for Bafflegab Productions and commissioned by Rhian Roberts for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.
Blumhouse plans to adapt the Battersea Poltergeist into an untitled scripted series, for which the first season is already being developed, and a companion unscripted series titled Blumhouse’s Ghost Story. And the companies are clearly planning to go all-in on Shirley Hitchings’ story, securing Hitchings’ life rights as well as the rights to her and James Clark’s book, The Poltergeist Prince of London: The Remarkable True Story of the Battersea Poltergeist.
Danny Robins, Michael Seitzman, Jason Blum, and Chris McCumber will executive produce both the scripted and unscripted series, and Emma Cooper (The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann) is attached to produce, via her company Empress Films, on the unscripted series.
“From our first listen to Danny’s captivating podcast, we were hooked and could easily envision how to bring the story to life – in both scripted and unscripted formats – for television viewers,” Chris McCumber, Blumhouse Television president, said in a statement. “We’re grateful to Michael Seitzman for identifying the project early on, and championing it so aggressively.”
“It’s been an amazing journey making the podcast for the BBC and now I couldn’t have hoped for a better partner than Blumhouse, a leader in the genre, when looking to further develop it,” added executive producer and series creator Danny Robins. “I’m thrilled to work with them and Michael to bring the series to life visually. Ghost stories don’t get stranger or scarier than this.”
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