The Yorkshire, UK-based indie has optioned rights to Jordon Scott Kennedy’s script and is working it up for television.
The series will precede events featured in the short and is being built as a returning drama series, though no broadcaster is attached yet. The short explores ‘adultification’ from the point of view of kids growing up on a forgotten council estate in rural West Yorkshire. Envisaged as a black and white trilogy following Jud Donlan’s life over three summer holidays before entering the adult world, Rollem claims “Never has childhood been represented so unflinchingly.”
The “brutally honest” show is based on Scott Kennedy’s own experiences growing up on the Dewsbury Moor Estate.
Season one will be set in the summer of 2000. Synopsis reads: “While it might have been new beginnings for the rest of Britain, estates across the UK were disconnected, shunned, and left to fend for themselves as Tony Blair’s dreams of Tomorrow’s World quickly became yesterday’s hangover. But for kids on this estate, every summer is their place to dream and experience what childhood is meant to be, an adventure. At every turn, they are confronted by the looming draw of adulthood and adults who have been cheated and are desperately trying to hang onto their own youth in any way they can find it.”
Kennedy wrote and directed the short and will be involved in the adaptation. “When Rollem showed interest in optioning Youthless, I didn’t hesitate to agree and did so almost immediately,” he said. “Rollem is the ideal fit for me because of Kay Mellor’s incredible legacy and the company’s track record of developing new voices and underrepresented talent. Rollem genuinely believe in my voice and our future together feels very bright.”
Mellor, one of the UK’s best known television screenwriters, died unexpectedly in May last year aged 71. She was behind shows such as The Syndicate, which was remade in the U.S. for ABC as Lucky 7, and Band of Gold. Her daughter, Gaynor Mellor, now leads Rollem as Creative Director.
“We’re overjoyed to be working with Jordon on Youthless and bring his vision to a wider audience,” said Gaynor Mellor. “His short film had us hooked from the outset. Kay was passionate about working with new writers and we couldn’t be happier to showcase this Bradford-based talent who’s already making quite the name for himself.”