Georges Simenon Ltd (GSL) has signed a licence and co-production arrangement with Colin Callender’s Golden Globe and BAFTA-winning Playground (Wolf Hall, Howards End, All Creatures Great and Small) which is to co-develop with Red Arrow Studios International a new premium, English-language returning drama series, based on Georges Simenon’s iconic series of novels about the ingenious French detective Jules Maigret.

Aimed at the global market where the novels have been read by tens of millions of fans, Playground’s option deal with GSL extends to all 75 novels and 28 short stories based on the Jules Maigret character. The Inspector Maigret books, along with Simenon’s extensive body of work, have sold over 600 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than 50 languages and Maigret ranks as the second-best selling detective series of all time.

Unlike many famous fictional detectives who rely solely on their deductive powers or physical prowess, Maigret solves murders using his understanding of human motives and emotional makeup. Above all, Maigret is a cop.

From the back alleys of Paris to the glamorous beaches of the South of France and beyond, Maigret’s reputation is so highly regarded that officers come to shadow him and merely observe his uncanny ability to get under the skin of the criminals he is chasing. But, it is only his devotion to his craft and his love for his wife, Madame Maigret, that satisfy Maigret.

The adaptation will be executive produced by Colin Callender, David Stern and Scott Huff for Playground, Tim Gerhartz and Rodrigo Herrera Ibarguengoytia for Red Arrow Studios International and John Simenon and Hilary Strong for GSL. Red Arrow Studios International will distribute the series internationally.

Tim Gerhartz, President & Managing Director at Red Arrow Studios International, said: “As one of the most recognised and celebrated detective novel collections of all time, it’s a privilege to collaborate with Playground and GSL on developing the iconic Jules Maigret character for television, and portraying the romantic yet gritty world of Paris he inhabits. Playground has an eminent reputation for bringing award-winning and striking series to international audiences, and we look forward creating a fresh and distinctive adaptation that will appeal to Maigret’s existing fans as well as new ones.”

Playground’s joint Managing Directors Scott Huff and David Stern said: “Georges Simenon was one of the most prolific crime authors of the twentieth century and his seminal creation, Inspector Maigret, remains one of literature’s greatest detectives. It’s a rare opportunity to adapt a work that is both distinctive and timeless and we’re incredibly grateful to the Simenon Estate and for the partnership of Red Arrow as we bring Maigret to a global audience.”

John Simenon, CEO and Director of GSL, said: “As the administrator of the various components of Simenon’s IP estate, I am constantly reminded of the rare privilege, and the correponding responsibilities, associated with the management of such an exceptional legacy. It is a challenging mission to reach out, through all media, to the widest potential audience for my father’s works and values, while preserving their integrity as well as his own. In that respect, this very special project is a key opportunity and I look forward to working on it with Playground and Red Arrow.”

Hilary Strong, CEO of ILP and Director of GSL, said: “ILP was formed to acquire IP in the world’s best literary estates, and to work with those estates and their representatives to preserve their legacy and develop them in a way that ensures that wonderful stories like George Simenon’s continue to be re-told by the most talented voices to bring enjoyment for decades to come. I am excited by the opportunity to work with GSL and John Simenon to make this happen.”

The Maigret licence was brokered by John Simenon and Hilary Strong for GSL with PFD’s Jonathan Sissons. The co-development deal was brokered by Carlo Dusi for Red Arrow Studios International.