Entertainment & Arts

Rowling's Casual Vacancy to become BBC TV drama series

JK Rowling holds new novel
Image caption The Casual Vacancy sold 125,000 in its first week on the market

JK Rowling's first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, is to be dramatised for BBC television.

The Harry Potter author will "collaborate closely" on the adaptation which is expected to air on BBC One in 2014.

Set in a small-town community in the West Country, it centres on the unexpected death of Barry Fairbrother, which shocks the local villagers.

Rowling said she was "thrilled" that the novel has been commissioned.

"I always felt that, if it were to be adapted, this novel was best suited to television and I think the BBC is the perfect home."

BBC One controller Danny Cohen said he was excited to bring Rowling's latest work to audiences.

"[Her] story-telling is of course peerless in its popularity, and I am looking forward to collaborating with her," he said.

The series will be produced through an independent production company operated by Neil Blair, on behalf of The Blair Partnership, and Rick Senat.

The BBC said the number and length of episodes will be decided once the adaptation process has begun.

Described by publishers Little Brown and Co as "blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising", there were mixed reviews for the novel when it was published in September, with Rowling variously described as "unadventurous", "bleak" and "brilliant" by newspaper critics.

It sold 125,000 copies in its first week on the market, becoming the fastest-selling hardback in the UK for three years and the second biggest seller since records began in 1998.

More than 450 million copies of Rowling's seven Potter books have been sold worldwide.

The novels, about a boy wizard who survives the attack that kills his parents, became a worldwide phenomenon and were turned into eight blockbuster films starring Daniel Radcliffe.

When the final instalment of the book series went on sale in 2007, thousands of copies sold in minutes.

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