It’s official; Jilly Cooper's bestselling Rutshire Chronicles novels are set to gallop onto the small screen in the not-so-distant future.
And, intriguingly, the racy show-jumping novels are going to be transformed into a "high-end drama" series for ITV by the very same production company that put JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy on our televisions.
Screenwriter Kate Booke, best known for her work on Mr Selfridge, will adapt the novels.
The ‘sex-and-saddlebags’ book series, which earned the title of ‘bonkbuster’ long before EL James’ Fifty Shades saga came along, focuses on the show-jumping and polo-playing crowd of the British upper classes.
Fans of the 80s books, however, will remember them primarily for their plethora of steamy encounters, spankings, sweaty horseflesh, swooning romance, skulduggery, scandalous affairs, and more.
There are 10 books in the series, and UK production company FilmWave has only required the rights for all but one.
The lucky nine, all of which were published between 1985 and 2011, are Riders, Rivals, Polo, The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous, Appassionata, Score!, Pandora, Wicked! and Jump!
Cooper's inspirations behind the series' leading man, Rupert Campbell-Black, was revealed during the launch for Mount! earlier this month, when she explained that she was bowled away by the “glamorous and charismatic” Andrew Parker Bowles, Rupert Lycett Green, and Michael Howard, the Earl of Suffolk.
However she was quick to stop any rumours in their tracks, adding that all three of the men were “impeccably behaved” – unlike the naughty show-jumper of her novels.
Cooper, meanwhile, has revealed that she fully intends to keep writing about Campbell-Black – and that her next book will take him, unusually, into the world of football.
Speaking to The Guardian, she admitted she has to “use a lot of imagination” these days when it comes to the sex scenes.
“It was such a long time ago. [But then] I always had to use a lot of imagination. Everybody used to say they could see steam coming out of the gazebo where I worked.
“I don’t find [writing about] sex that difficult. It’s just the way it always was. I just think, why stop at the bedroom door? The way people make love and the way people relate to each other in bed are interesting too.”
Riders was turned into a feature length film for ITV in 1993 and in 2009,