FAIRYTALES ARE NOT
Picture books are an ill-fitting place for myths and legends. Forget the cosy stories of long, long ago, filled colourful images and safe, happy endings. There will be precious few of those here.
They are twisted fables, told by beggars and bastards for spare coins and a drink to keep out the cold. Dark, unsettling things that get under the skin and haunt the dreams of restless sleep. And they always have something to say something about the world.
These stories are not fact. But does not mean they are not truth. Myths, legends, and fairy tales were born as commentaries on modern life. They used fantasy and imagination to satirise the world.
And it is this tradition that inspired Whatever After.
Each episode takes a well-known myth, legend or fairy tale and reimagines it. They may take place in any time, but the themes are strongly contemporary. Some will be witty and satirical; others, darker and more serious.
The series follows an anthology format. Most will be standalone stories, allowing for maximum variety to explore different themes, and diverse modes of storytelling. This is redolent of the approach taken by other successful anthology series, such as Inside No. 9 (HBO); Electric Dreams (Channel 4); Easy (Netflix); and Black Mirror (Netflix).
A key innovation of Whatever After is that it uses an ensemble cast, with actors playing different characters in each episode. This will help to build a unified identity, encouraging viewer engagement. Seeing who turns up as what in each is all part of the wit and mystery.
Cast attached to the project include Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey, Harlots, Black Mirror) as the narrator.
The Next Steps
As an anthology, Whatever After lends itself to a variety of series and episode lengths. However, we are proposing an initial run of ten mid-form (20-30 minute) episodes.
The source material is virtually unlimited. Just pick a myth, legend or fairy tale, and make it say something about the world today. It could be a Greek myth one week; a tale from the Arabian Nights the next.
However, there’s nothing like show-don’t-tell to get an idea across…