EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS ARE DOMINIC TREADWELL-COLLINS, ALEXANDER LAMB, FELICITY BLUNT, LAURA WADE AND JILLY COOPER
EIGHT-EPISODE SERIES PRODUCED BY HAPPY PRINCE AND COMMISSIONED BY DISNEY+
Image available to download [HERE]
LONDON, UK (25 August 2022) – Disney+ today announced Rivals, a brand-new eight-part series based on the novel by Jilly Cooper. Rivals is part of the author’s bestselling Rutshire Chronicles, an iconic and beloved piece of British literary history, capturing the joy, drama, excess, and brazen power-grabbing of the affluent elite in 1980s England. Executive produced by Dominic Treadwell-Collins (A Very English Scandal, Holding, EastEnders) and Alexander Lamb (The Bay, We Hunt Together, Ackley Bridge) and written by Treadwell-Collins with Olivier Award-winner Laura Wade (The Riot Club). The UK original series will premiere on Disney+ in EMEA and Asia Pacific and Star+ in Latin America.
Rivals dives headfirst into the cutthroat world of independent television in 1986, where the shoulder pads are big and ambitions even bigger. In the fictional upper-class county of Rutshire, a long-standing rivalry between two powerful men is about to boil over: ex-Olympian, Member of Parliament, and notorious womaniser Rupert Campbell-Black, and his Rutshire neighbour Tony Baddingham, controller of the independent TV franchise Corinium Television. As tensions rise and rivalries deepen, there are spilled secrets, forged alliances, and snatched liaisons that draw wives, lovers, colleagues, friends, and families into their battle.
Rivals is a joyously mischievous rollercoaster ride, steamy in its love stories and packed with larger-than-life characters. Yet beneath the spectacle and fun, the series brings a 2020s lens to the 1980s, offering a raw exploration of a complicated moment in British history when class, race, sex, wealth, and sexual liberation meant that, for the very privileged few, there were no limits to what they could achieve.
Executive producers for the series are Dominic Treadwell-Collins and Alexander Lamb for Happy Prince, which is part of ITV Studios, Felicity Blunt, Laura Wade, Rivals author Jilly Cooper and Director of Scripted Content for Disney+ EMEA Lee Mason.
EP and Rivals author Jilly Cooper commented: “I am so, so excited. Throughout my childhood, my favourite word was ‘Disney’, and by a miraculous coincidence, greater-than-ever Disney are joining forces with an utterly brilliant drama company, Happy Prince, to turn my novel into a TV series. I know they will bring the boardroom battles and love triangles of my characters to life – particularly those of my devastatingly handsome hero. I cannot wait to see who will be stepping into his shoes…let the hunt for our Rupert Campbell-Black commence!”
Lee Mason, Director of Scripted Content, EMEA, Disney+ added: “The combination of Jilly Cooper and Disney+ is delightfully unexpected. We were thrilled when Dominic brought us these iconic books, and we leapt at the chance to bring them to life. We can’t wait to welcome Rupert Campbell-Black and the residents of Rutshire to the platform.”
Dominic Treadwell-Collins, executive producer at Happy Prince, says: “I have been wooing Jilly Cooper since I first started working in television. Jilly's iconic novels' razor-sharp observations on class, sex, love and what it means to be British resonate even more today than when Jilly wrote them in the 1980s. I'm so excited to bring Rivals to the screen, entertain fans of the beloved Cooperverse and introduce a whole new generation to the sweeping love stories, social satire and biting wit of Rutshire.”
The lead director is BAFTA-nominated Elliot Hegarty (Ted Lasso, Cheaters, Trying), who also serves as executive producer on episodes 1-3. Eliza Mellor (The Midwich Cuckoos, Behind Her Eyes, Poldark) serves as Series Producer.
In addition to Treadwell-Collins and Wade, the series writers room also includes: Sophie Goodhart (The Baby, Sex Education), Marek Horn, Mimi Hare & Clare Naylor (The Accidental Husband), Dare Aiyegbayo (The Dumping Ground, EastEnders), Kefi Chadwick (Looted, Avoidance), Tray Agyeman, and Sorcha Kurien Walsh (The Pink Pill).
Across EMEA alone, Disney’s International Content and Operations team plan to create 60 local productions by 2024, continuing to work with outstanding creators and premium producers as part of the company’s commitment to source, develop and produce high-quality original productions from around the globe.
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About Happy Prince
Happy Prince, part of ITV Studios, is a new drama label launched in 2020 by award-winning producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins. Placing the viewer squarely at the centre of all that they do, and proudly populist in their approach to each and every project, the label’s ambition is to tell quality authentic, intelligent and heartfelt stories that emotionally resonate with a broad audience. Its current slate includes; You & Me for ITVX, a, fresh, original and quintessentially modern love story shot through with the twists, turns and surprises of a gripping thriller; Holding for ITV, the critically acclaimed adaptation of Graham Norton's bestselling novel of the same name; and a series adaptation of Jim Cartwright's award-winning play The Rise & Fall of Little Voice with Miramax TV.
Prior to Happy Prince, Treadwell-Collins was Head of Television at Blueprint Pictures, where he was Executive Producer for the Golden Globe, Emmy, Critics Choice, Rose D'Or, RTS and BAFTA-winning series A Very English Scandal, starring Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw, written by Russell T Davies and directed by Stephen Frears. Before this he was Executive Producer of EastEnders, bringing Danny Dyer and his family into the Queen Vic and creating the show’s iconic ‘Who Killed Lucy?’ storyline with Alex Lamb, which climaxed after a year with a week of live episodes, reaching over 20 million viewers and winning BAFTA, RTS, NTA, MIND, British Soap and Attitude awards.
Alexander Lamb joined Happy Prince in 2021 and works as Executive Producer across the slate, working closely with Treadwell-Collins. In 2019 Lamb produced the second series of ITV ratings smash The Bay for Tall Story Pictures before joining BBC Studios as Creative Executive where he oversaw a number of developments, and was Executive Producer on Alibi’s We Hunt Together. Before this he produced 2 series of celebrated Channel 4 drama Ackley Bridge for The Forge, and was Story Producer for EastEnders, overseeing the BAFTA-winning “Who Killed Lucy” plots as well as creating some of EastEnders' most enduring and award-winning characters and storylines with Dominic over a period of fifteen years. He has also worked on Emmerdale, Waterloo Road and T4.
Disney+ Media Relations