London, 17 November:  Baby Cow, the leading film and television company co-founded by Steve Coogan and responsible for Philomena, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Nighty Night, Gavin & Stacey and The Mighty Boosh, has acquired Zadie Smith’s new novel Swing Time, from Katie Haines at The Agency in association with Georgia Garrett at Rogers, Coleridge & White Ltd. Smith will adapt herself, with Nick Laird, for television.

Swing Time marks Baby Cow’s first significant acquisition since Christine Langan, ex-head of BBC Films, took over as CEO this month.

Langan says: “Zadie Smith is the voice of a generation and Swing Time is a thrillingly ambitious story of friendship, rivalry and fame. We’re delighted and honoured at Baby Cow to be developing such a unique project and we can’t wait to share it with TV audiences everywhere.”

The novel, published this week, has received fantastic reviews: ‘Smith packs more intelligence, humour and sheer energy into any given scene than anyone else of her generation’. The Sunday Telegraph.

A novel that showcases its author’s formidable talents’. The New York Times.

Zadie Smith says: “I am absolutely delighted at the prospect of working with Baby Cow on an adaptation of Swing Time. Their extraordinary track record in both drama and comedy I have always admired from afar and it’s a thrill for me to get the chance to collaborate with Steve Coogan and Christine Langan.”

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship, music and true identity, how they shape us and how we can survive them. Moving from North West London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the rhythm of time.

Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten either.

Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty and NW. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has twice been listed as one of Granta’s 20 Best Young British Novelists. She has won the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award among many others, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Swing Time is her fifth novel.

About Baby Cow: Established in 1999 by award winning comedy creators Steve Coogan and Henry Normal, Baby Cow Productions has long had an enviable reputation for nurturing new British comedy talent. In early 2016 Henry Normal left to pursue other creative endeavors and BBC Worldwide became majority shareholders. Christine Langan, ex-Head of BBC Films, took over as CEO in November.

Known as the home of mutli award winning comedies, Alan Partridge, Nighty Night, The Mighty Boosh, Gavin and Stacey and Red Dwarf, the new team of founder, Steve Coogan, Head of Film, Gaby Tana, and CEO Christine Langan will bring that same distinctive voice and ambition to its TV drama productions and feature films.

Baby Cow has already achieved box office success and critical acclaim with many of its films, including Academy nominated and Bafta winning Philomena and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. Mindhorn and Polunin documentary Dancer, are set for UK release in Spring 2017.

About BBC Worldwide:
BBC Worldwide is the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).  Its vision is to build the BBC’s brands, audiences, commercial returns and reputation across the world.  This is achieved through investing in, commercialising and showcasing content from the BBC around the world, in a way that is consistent with BBC standards and values.  The business also champions British creativity globally.


In 2015/16, BBC Worldwide generated headline profits of £133.8m and headline sales of £1,029.4m and returned £222.2m to the BBC. For more detailed performance information please see our Annual Review webpage: www.bbcworldwide.com/annual-review

www.bbcworldwide.com   twitter.com/bbcwpress


For more information:

Freuds |Charlotte Inett| charlotte.inett@freuds.com | 079 2025 1389

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