TV drama fans prepare for a brace of Zadie Smith adaptations

Award-winning novelist writing her own drama, with BBC looking to make her novel NW into a serial

The BBC is working on an adaptation of Zadie Smith’s most recent novel, the London-set NW, can reveal.


Published last year, the BBC has optioned the book which is set in Willesden and follows four people trying to escape their past, including friends the well to do barrister Natalie and Leah, who lives on the other side of the tracks in a council house.

The BBC, which hasn’t given the formal green light to the project, still hopes it will make a serial.

“There’s the hope that it will do at least as well as the much praised four part Channel 4 adaptation of her first novel White Teeth,” said a source.

C4’s adaptation of White Teeth  which starred Naomie Harris, Phil Davis and Om Puri, aired more than ten years ago and was nominated for a number of awards, finally winning the Monte Carlo Television Festival award for best mini series.

In addition, Smith herself and her husband, fellow novelist Nick Laird are understood to be working on their own TV script which Laird has said is an historical drama but not an adaptation.


A spokesman at Smith’s agency confirmed that both projects were underway but said that all her projects were currently taking a “back seat” because the writer has just given birth a month ago.