Hauling Like A Brooligan

Stephen Gallagher

The First Kingdom of Bones

The Kingdom of Bones was the title I gave to my script for BBC Films’ Murder Rooms series, the one I was discussing in my previous post. Writing about its parallels with the Ripper Street cancellation prompted me to dig out this showreel clip.

I didn’t know it at the time, but piecemeal funding of development meant that by delivering early I jumped the queue and got my story onto the production train before the whistle blew. They were buying scripts without knowing how many they’d actually get to make. Not the best way to run a business and the producers didn’t like it, but we were all dealing with the system as we found it.

I was able to deliver a relatively well-finished first draft for one reason; I had a head start in Victoriana because I’d been working on Victorian Gothic, a period epic of my own devising that had become a long-term passion project. Zenith had optioned screen rights on it for a couple of years before going out of business. Jane Tranter picked it up and developed it further for the BBC, only to find her persuasive energies wasted on a channel controller whose background was in sport.

When the novel sold to Shaye Areheart’s Random House imprint, Shaye didn’t like Victorian Gothic for a title and picked The Kingdom of Bones from my list, where it still lurked. I didn’t protest.