EXCLUSIVE: In a highly competitive environment, Imagine Kids+Family has secured the film rights to Ali Standish’s upcoming multi-book series The improbable tales of Baskerville Hall, which follows the imagined origin story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional characters, before development as a TV series that builds an integrated Arthur Conan Doyle universe encompassing all of his works.
The series follows a young Arthur Conan Doyle who leaves his family to attend Baskerville Hall, a school for the exceptionally gifted, where he will try to solve many mysteries with the help of his new classmates and teachers. Here he meets the characters who will become the inspiration for his many famous novels, including Professor Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and friends like James Moriarty. In Baskerville Hall, Arthur uncovers a mystery that will lead to an epic adventure and be the springboard to the creation of an interconnected and far-reaching Conan Doyle universe.
“The characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are some of the most compelling and enduring ever put to paper. What attracted us to this series of books was the creative twist of involving young Conan Doyle himself in the story and showing how his professors and friends formed the foundation of his life’s work,” said Stephanie Sperber, president of Imagine Kids+Family. “We see this as an opportunity to build a world that connects the Sherlock and all other ACD novels into one unique interconnected world for children and adults around the world.”
The Unlikely Stories of Baskerville Hall is a collaboration between Working Partners, part of the Coolabi Group of companies, and The Conan Doyle Estate, the official guardians of the works of the Arthur Conan Doyle franchise.
London-based Coolabi Productions, Working Partners’ sister production company, will co-develop and produce the series adaptation with Imagine Kids+Family.
“Working Partners is delighted to be entrusted with working with the Conan Doyle Estate to develop a world where the public could be introduced to the genesis of existing characters, plus new and diverse characters; making Sir Arthur Conan Doyle more relevant than ever for a 21st century,” said Chris Snowdon, Managing Director, Working Partners. “Imagine Kids+Family, with such a rich history of storytelling, is the perfect partner to bring this new Conan Doyle canon to life.”
Chelsea Eberly of The Greenhouse Literary Agency has licensed three books in The Unlikely Stories of Baskerville Hall by Standish to HarperCollins in a preemptive deal. The first book is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2023, the second book in the series is set to be released in the fall of 2024, and the third book is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2025.
“This captivating world, brimming with mystery, puzzle-filled plots and classic and beloved characters reimagined for today’s reader, is perfectly crafted for the middle-class audience, and we are so excited to launch this publishing franchise that will appeal to to a new generation of sleuths and adventurers,” said Alyson Day, Executive Editor, HarperCollins Children’s Books.
As one of the most famous fictional characters in the world, Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed in some 250 movies or TV shows to date. For the first time, Baskerville Hall brings together characters from all of Conan Doyle’s works of fiction – from Sherlock Holmes to The Lost Worldto his many other adventure stories – to create one interconnected “ACD universe”.
“We’ve long talked about the idea of spotlighting all of our great ancestors, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s brilliant characters, not just Sherlock Holmes — and effectively creating a new fictional universe,” said Richard Pooley, great-great-grandson of SirArthur. Conan Doyle. “A dream came true when Working Partners suggested that the Conan Doyle Estate partner with them in creating The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall.”
CBS is currently developing a series based on Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes character universe. Watsonfrom Kapital Entertainment and CBS Studios by Aaron Kaplan, is a medical drama with detective elements written by Craig Sweeny.