On 20 March 2020, Netflix will start running its mini-series The Letter for the King based on the 1962 children’s book of the same name by Tonke Dragt.
Set in the middle ages, knight-in-training Tiuri is tasked by a stranger to deliver a letter to the king and save the world in the process. The adventure spans six episodes. Dragt wrote a sequel to her book, The Secrets of the Wild Wood, so who knows? If this series does well, they might commission another.
According to an interview with Dragt in Trouw last year, this is the first Dutch book that is being turned into an international series by Netflix. Dragt, now 89:
I immediately said no to a couple of [changes Netflix had planned]. No torture! They wanted to remove shield-bearer Piak from the story but I said: Piak stays. And they wanted to make Tiuri’s background more interesting, but I was against that—he is a regular boy. Children must be able to think: that could happen to me. Will I keep the promise [to deliver the letter]?
I had never heard of [Netflix]. So now I need to stay alive for a little while longer, until I have seen at least the first episode. Will it be good or disappointing? I will decide then if I will watch more of it.
Dragt’s stories often revolve around dualities, about finding that crack in the middle to slip through. Tiuri gets the tough choice: do I follow the formal steps that will get me knighted or do I throw that all away so that I can behave knightly?
In De Zevensprong, a so-called seven-way junction is the starting point for a mystery: there are only six roads. The book plays with the notion that a fork in the road is where a single road splits in two—or are they three roads meeting? The duality must be resolved to find the key to the mystery.
And Dragt’s The Towers of February posits that today, Leap Day, is the only time you can slip between realities.
See also: The Dutch like Dutch children’s literature the best
Tags: children's books, Netflix, series, Tonke Dragt
Although last year we announced the first Belgian-Dutch series to hit Netflix, called ‘Undercover’, now there’s a Dutch Netflix Original in the works, with no name as of yet. Since Belgian television is developing and will broadcast ‘Undercover’ first, it isn’t considered a Netflix Original, while the unnamed Dutch project will be.
Produced by Pieter Kuijpers and Sander van Meurs of the Pupkin company, the eight-part series of 30 minutes will feature the combination of two elements, namely coming of age and horror, set in Amsterdam. A group of students enjoying the vices of the Dutch capital discover a link to a demonic world from the Golden Age upon which this country has built its entire fortune. This Dutch outing will be penned by writers’ collective Winchester McFly (Bankier van het Verzet, Smeris), while the showrunner will be Michael Leendertse (Van God Los, Smeris).
(Link: bright.nl, Photo of the VOC HQ (East India Company) by Josh, distributed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)
Tags: Amsterdam, Netflix, television
The first Belgian-Dutch co-production ‘Undercover’, a 10-part series, is set to hit Netflix in 2019, and it stars Anna Drijver (Dutch), Frank Lammers (Dutch), Elise Schaap (Dutch) and Tom Waes (Belgian), produced by Jan Theys (Belgian), with writer and showrunner Nico Moolenaar (Dutch) and directed by Eshref Reybrouck (Belgian) and Frank Devos (Belgian).
For those of you who have watched the Netflix series ‘Narcos’, an American series about the cocaine trade in Colombia, consider this its European ecstasy cousin, but then set in the Netherlands and Belgium. Not a week goes by in the Netherlands and possibly Belgium without a news item about drums of chemicals used to make ecstasy (aka MDMA) found dumped in woods in the province of Noord-Brabant, so someone might as well make a series about it.
“I found it incredible to learn that the Netherlands and Belgium are such a huge part of the global drug trafficking network”, said producer Jan Theys. As for cocaine, the Netherlands remains the ‘Colombia of Western Europe’ and used to be the best and biggest cocaine producing country in the world until WWII.
(Link: broadwayworld.com, Photo: DEA)
Tags: cocaine, drugs, ecstasy, MDMA, Netflix, Noord-Brabant, television