The British commercial broadcaster has ordered the six-part series from Genial Productions, the nascent ITV-backed producer formed by The Durrells and Men Behaving Badly writer Simon Nye and ex-Tiger Aspect boss Sophie Clarke-Jervoise.
Created and written by Shameless and Cold Feet writer Mark Brotherhood, Glass Houses is set in a picturesque small coastal town with a close-knit community. It follows the stories and fall out for Maggie Connors, played by French, who doesn’t pay attention to the cautionary adage that ‘those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’.
Connors is a central character in town who makes it her business to know a bit about everyone’s lives. When a radio journalist interviews her for a small reportage piece about local life she gives him far more detail (and embellishment) about the locals and their personal lives than he was counting on. In the days and weeks following the show’s broadcast, Maggie sees the butterfly effect of how her very public gossip-fest affects various figures around the town and disrupts their lives.
Maggie has been happily married to headmaster Peter, played by Mark Heap, for nearly 40 years, and their son Jamie and his wife Becka live nearby. Other notable residents include Maggie’s best friend Jill, played by Julie Hesmondhalgh, Brian the publican, school secretary Karen, played by Vicki Pepperdine, the town’s GP Carol, local shopkeepers Emil and Roxanna, and Kelly who works in the hair salon. Also part-time resident is the handsome Marcus, played by Patrick Robinson, who rents a cottage to write his best-selling novels.
The show, which was commissioned by ITV’s Comedy Controller Saskia Schuster, will go into production in South Devon later this spring. Clarke-Jervoise, French and Brotherhood will serve as executive producers with Joanna Hanley as producer, Ben Gregor as director and Maya Sondhi as script consultant.
French said, “Sophie and I have been developing Glass Houses for some time and I can’t wait to finally get started in front of the camera. It’s such a good story with a fantastic funny, touching script by Mark Brotherhood. Let me at it.”
Schuster said, “Glass Houses is a new drama in the tradition of Doc Martin and The Darling Buds Of May, full of warmth and intriguing characters. This new series will embrace its beautiful idyllic South Devon setting as we meet the villagers of Thurlbury and find out how an innocent afternoon spent indiscreetly gossiping has a domino effect on the whole village.”
Clarke-Jervoise added, “We’re delighted to be making Glass Houses for ITV – it’s a cautionary tale for anyone wanting to gain popularity by passing on unfounded gossip and Mark Brotherhood’s scripts are packed full of intrigue, comedy and suspense.”
Glass Houses will be distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.