Alex Rider: spy series author Anthony Horowitz insists new TV adaptation isn’t for kids

With the first trailer showing Alex Rider's grittier side, Horowitz reveals why he wouldn't allow his bestselling Young Adult novels to be made into a kids' show

Alex Rider - Season 1

Anthony Horowitz has dismissed the idea that a new new eight-part TV series based on his Young Adult Alex Rider series could be classed as a children’s TV show, with the author insisting that he wouldn’t have sold the rights if it wasn’t a sufficiently gritty take on the material.

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“I wouldn’t have given the rights if it was to be made for children’s TV,” he told RadioTimes.com.

“I think the whole notion of children’s TV, to a certain extent, doesn’t exist anymore. We have moved on.”

The series focuses on Alex Rider (played by War & Peace’s Otto Farrant), a teenage boy who becomes a James Bond-esque spy. Stormbreaker, the first novel in the series, was adapted into a film in 2006, with a starry cast including Ewan McGregor, Stephen Fry and Alex Pettyfer as the titular character.

But the new TV adaptation looks like a departure in tone from the wacky, gadget-filled movie – and better reflects the tone of the books Horowitz said.

“I always describe [them] as adult books for kids”, he said. “The very first sentence in the very first book is: ‘When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it’s never good news.’ And that is an adult sentence.”

Alex Rider - Season 1 - Episode 102
Alex Rider – Season 1 – Episode 102

Alex Rider is based on the second novel in the series, Point Blanc, and sees its adolescent hero go undercover at a prestigious school called the Point Blanc academy, using espionage skills he never knew he had.

“The thing about this show is that it was always considered an adult show purely and simply, but one that was still accessible to children”, said the author.

“The audience has grown up – people in their thirties, sometimes with children, are my readership. This show is as much for them as for new children reading the books now.”

Interview by Jo Berry

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Alex Rider will premiere in 2020