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Anatomy of a Scandal is being adapted for Netflix by the creator of Big Little Lies, and we’re full-on excited

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Anna Brech
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The creator behind the hit HBO drama Big Little Lies is set to adapt Sarah Vaughan’s bestselling novel Anatomy of a Scandal into a new Netflix thriller. 

Book-to-TV adaptations can be a tricky art to pull off but the HBO version of Big Little Lies brought Liane Moriarty’s funny and tragic book to life in beautiful detail. 

The TV series, starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, introduced a few new elements to the storyline but overall it stayed faithful to many parts of the original novel and brought its characters to life in a way that felt very believable. 

“It’s got a darker, sexier, more glamorous feel than my books, and I think the tone of it is probably, overall, a bit darker,” said Moriarty at the time. “They did bring in the humour as well – but the main thing is its more glamorous feel.”

So it’s a sheer delight to discover that the creator behind Big Little Lies –  David E Kelley – is now turning his eye to another bestselling book we love: Sarah Vaughan’s Anatomy of a Scandal.

Kelley will be adapting the thriller about a politician accused of rape into a six-part series for Netflix. 

“Having a novel dramatised by Netflix is a dream come true. Not only that, but it really couldn’t be in safer hands,” says Vaughan, who has sold over 100,000 copies of her 2018 book.

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Anatomy of a Scandal follows the story of James, a high-flying Home Office minister whose marriage to Sophie is plunged into crisis after the aide that he has an affair with, Olivia, accuses him of rape.

The plot also revolves around the character of Kate, an ambitious young barrister who is well-versed in prosecuting some of the UK’s worst cases of sexual assault.

Themes of consent, trust and privilege are woven into the taut domestic thriller, that – like all the best in its genre – keeps readers on the edge right to the very last word. 

big little lies emmy noms
Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley and Reese Witherspoon in Big Little Lies

Kelley will be joined by a series of other industry heavyweights in adapting Anatomy of a Scandal to the small screen, including executive producer Bruna Papandrea (a fellow colleague from Big Little Lies) and Melissa James Gibson of House of Cards fame.

Netflix has also got Vaughan on-board as an executive producer, to lend her author’s perspective to the filming process. 

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The channel says the show will be filmed in the UK. It promises “an insightful and suspenseful series about a sexual consent trial involving the British elite, the unravelling marriage of the man accused, and the women caught up in its wake”.

Filming was due to start this year, but it may now be delayed due to coronavirus.

If you or anyone you know are suffering from issues related to sexual assault, seek confidential help and support with Rape Crisis

Images: HBO, Simon & Schuster

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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