In a competitive situation, Blumhouse Television and Maniac Productions have secured the rights to the BBC Radio 4 podcast “The Battersea Poltergeist.”
The two companies will now work to develop a scripted series titled “Blumhouse’s Ghost Story,” with the podcast serving as the basis for the first season. In addition, they will develop an unscripted companion series. Blumhouse TV and Maniac have also secured the life rights of Shirley Hitchings, who was the subject of the longest documented poltergeist haunting in history. They will also have the rights to Hitchings’ and James Clark’s book “The Poltergeist Prince of London: The Remarkable True Story of the Battersea Poltergeist.”
The docu-drama podcast, written and presented by Danny Robins, features the voices of Dafne Keen and Toby Jones. It has amassed nearly 3 million streams and downloads since its launch. It was co-produced by Robins with Simon Barnard for Bafflegab Productions and commissioned by Rhian Roberts for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.
“It’s been an amazing journey making the podcast for the BBC and now I couldn’t have hoped for a better partner than Blumhouse, a leader in the genre, when looking to further develop it,” said Robins. “I’m thrilled to work with them and Michael to bring the series to life visually. Ghost stories don’t get stranger or scarier than this.”
Robins, Michael Seitzman of Maniac, and Jason Blum, Jeremy Gold, and Chris McCumber of Blumhouse TV will executive produce both the scripted and unscripted series. Emma Cooper is attached to produce the unscripted series via Empress Films.
“From our first listen to Danny’s captivating podcast, we were hooked and could easily envision how to bring the story to life – in both scripted and unscripted formats – for television viewers,” said Chris McCumber, Blumhouse Television president. “We’re grateful to Michael Seitzman for identifying the project early on, and championing it so aggressively.”
Robins was nominated for a BAFTA for the BBC series he created, “Young Dracula.” The show went on to win a Royal Television Society Award. His credits also include “Rudy’s Rare Records,” “The Cold Swedish Winter,” “Trollied,” and “Haunted.”
“Once you listen to the gripping and terrifying true story of Shirley Hitchings, it’s easy to understand why Danny’s podcast inspired two-page spreads in every newspaper in the UK,” said Seitzman. “It was exactly what we’d been looking for to launch our new ongoing series based on true hauntings. As he did with his podcast, Danny Robins will have viewers sleeping with the lights on after they watch his show!”