EXCLUSIVE: Anna Friel, star of Netflix/ITV crime drama Marcella, is to front a television adaption of Karen Hamilton’s novel The Perfect Girlfriend.

The drama will be produced by Pulse Films, the Vice-owned company behind Sky/AMC drama Gangs of London, and co-produced by Friel’s new production company Wonder Well Productions.

Friel, who also starred in ABC’s Pushing Daisies, will play Juliette, an attractive, confident and driven woman who is training for her new career as a flight attendant.

The darkness in her past doesn’t matter, because she’s moved beyond all that, and she’s building a great new life for herself—one that will impress her ex-boyfriend, Nate, who left her in a foolish moment of commitment-phobia, one that he surely regrets now. But he’ll be so proud of her once he sees how much she’s grown. And he will see her. After all, he’s a pilot at the very same airline where Juliette is training. What kind of man wouldn’t appreciate the effort Juliette has taken to win Nate back? She cleans his apartment when he’s not there and makes sure to leave all his favourite foods in the fridge. It’s only a matter of time before he leaves his airheaded new girlfriend and realizes Juliette is the only one for him. He will realize it. Juliette will make sure of it. After all, she is the perfect girlfriend.

The project will reunite Friel with Nicola Larder, an exec producer at Pulse Films, who produced Marcella. Larder will exec produce alongside Pulse Films CEO Thomas Benski.

The book deal was brokered by Tim O’Shea and Jamie Hall for Pulse Films, Robert Taylor from the Artist Partnership and Luke Speed at Curtis Brown group on behalf of Sophie Lambert of C&W Agency.

The Perfect Girlfriend joins other book adaptations on Pulse Films’ development slate including Laura Dockrill’s What Have I Done? Gangs of London was renewed for a second season last summer.

It is Friel’s latest TV project; the actor is also set to star in supernatural anthology series The Box, from Adi Hasak, creator of NBC series Shades Of Blue, for Scandinavia streamer Nordic Entertainment Group.

Friel, who narrated the audiobook of The Perfect Girlfriend, said the collaboration was “thrilling”. “Karen has entrusted to me the vibrant and compelling world of Juliette and I can’t wait to introduce her to you all,” she said.

Author Karen Hamilton called the deal a “dream come true”. “I loved hearing Anna narrate the audiobook of The Perfect Girlfriend, so I couldn’t be happier or more excited to see Pulse Films and Anna bring Juliette to life on the screen, it’s absolutely ideal.”

Pulse Films CEO Thomas Benski called Friel “outstanding”. “This thrilling new series will subvert and elevate genre, twisting romantic comedy tropes and tearing up the rulebook for how female-led stories are told,” he added.

“I am incredibly proud to be joining forces with Anna once again to create what will be another iconic female TV character,” added Pulse Films Executive Producer, Drama Nicola Larder. “I love working with Anna. We vibe off each other incredibly well. We’re going to ensure Karen’s creation of Juliette leaps onto of the screen as a true 21st century statement about not taking bad behaviour lying down.”

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