Neil Gaiman to adapt cult Jim Henson anthology series The Storyteller

The Good Omens and American Gods writer is turning his attentions to a whole new world of folklore and mythology

Neil Gaiman at the launch of American Gods (Getty)

Good Omens and American Gods writer Neil Gaiman has confirmed he is developing a reimagined version of Jim Henson’s cult television hit The Storyteller.

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Gaiman, 58, has teamed up with Fremantle and the The Jim Henson Company to revive the surreal 80s show, which retold a selection of obscure European folk tales with a mix of actors and puppets.

Gaiman’s new take on the classic will combine fairytales and folklore, and may place a greater emphasis on the character of The Storyteller himself – a role originally played by John Hurt.

Speaking about his plans for the series, he explained, “Jim Henson was always ahead of his time. He found ways to retell folk and fairy tales for a televisual generation.

“The original The Storyteller was a brilliantly written, directed and told set of stories,” he added. “It’s a terrifying and inspiring task to reinvent what Jim Henson did for the golden age of television we are in right now, and I’m honoured that The Jim Henson Company would entrust me with the task of bringing back the storyteller and his magical stories, and sending him out into the world for a whole new round of tales.”

He added to Deadline, “We’re going to find out a lot about who the storyteller is; we’re going to find out things we don’t even know that we don’t know.”

Gaiman further teased the new series may be “interactive”, hoping to update the show to suit the “binging kind of viewer”.

“We’re going to begin in a Northern kingdom where stories are forbidden and where the act of telling a story is liable and can get you imprisoned or executed,” he said. “If you put a storyteller into that situation, things would need to start getting interactive.”

Good Omens

Gaiman will be working closely alongside Lisa Henson, the CEO of the Jim Henson Company and the inspiration for the original series, having studied ancient Greek and folklore mythology while at Harvard University.

“The Storyteller has always been a special project for me, having worked so closely with my dad on the original concept,” she said. “Neil Gaiman is an expert in traditional folklore and mythology, in addition to himself being the modern ‘storyteller’ for our times.”

Gaiman has used myths and legends to inform many of his novels, including American Gods, Anansi Boys and Norse Mythology.

The author’s most recent screen work is an adaptation of his and Terry Pratchett’s book Good Omens. Gaiman announced in 2018 that he had signed an overall deal with Amazon Prime Video to create new TV series for the streaming service.

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However, a broadcaster for The Storyteller has yet to be confirmed.


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