A Kent author’s books are being brought to the small screen for the first time, featuring a star of Ricky Gervais’ After Life series.
Julie Wassmer’s novels The Whitstable Pearl Mystery and Disappearance at Oare have been commissioned to become a new British crime drama.
The story will be brought to life as a new six-part television series by top Norwegian filmmaker Øystein Karlsen.
It will feature Kerry Godliman - who starred in the Netflix hit After Life - in the lead role as Pearl Nolan.
The show’s director and writers have worked on popular programmes such as Peaky Blinders, Marcella and Strike Back.
Whitstable Pearl explores the dark undercurrents of murder and debauchery swirling beneath the surface of the picturesque 16th century English seaside town.
Distributed internationally by Cineflix Rights, the Acorn TV Original Series will begin production by Buccaneer Media in Whitstable on October 26.
The series follows local celebrity Pearl Nolan, a chef-proprietor of the eponymous Whitstable Pearl restaurant which she runs alongside her son, Charlie, waitress Ruby, and in spite of her mother Dolly.
She is also the proprietor of a newly-formed detective agency, finally putting her distant police training to good use.
Ms Wassmer said: “We have all had such a difficult period through lockdown so this is just brilliant news.
“The whole production has got such a wealth of talent involved.
“To have somebody like Kerry, who I saw in After Life, is just superb.
“The character of Pearl Nolan in my book is very much a Whitstable native. She is a very down to earth woman and Kerry just epitomises that.”
The former EastEnders writer is currently working on the eighth book in the Whitstable Pearl series and plans to continue writing well into the future.
She is a fan of books by Donna Leon and American author Stephen Dobyns - and has always loved novels where “location is key”.
Growing up in the East End of London, she amused herself with reading and writing stories from a young age.
“I am looking forward to what is a reinterpretation of the books and I’m excited to be in the audience watching with everybody else,” she added.
Kerry Godliman said she is “over the moon” to be portraying Pearl Nolan in Whitstable Pearl.
“Her character has such a big heart and I can’t wait to get stuck into bringing Julie’s vision of Pearl’s life juggling Whitstable, murder, seafood and romance to life,” she said.
The series will exclusively premiere on Acorn TV in North America, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK in 2021.
Acorn TV is an American subscription video streaming service offering programmes from countries including the UK, and is available on devices including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku.