Cape Wrath co-creator Matthew Arlidge on how the concept was sold to Channel 4 and the US.
Cape Wrathco-creator Matthew Arlidge on how the concept was sold to Channel 4 and the US:

Where did the idea come from?
Douglas Rae (who runs Ecosse Films) and I came up with the idea of a remote village in the north of Scotland populated by people on witness protection.

How did you pitch it?
We pitched it as Twin Peaksmeets The Truman Show. It's the kind of idea that immediately presents you with a wealth of possibilities. Every resident is living a lie - so what's their secret and what does their future hold? I took it to Francis Hopkinson at Channel 4 who was looking for a series that could sit alongside Shameless.

What was the reaction?
Francis liked the idea of a high-concept series which presented a cast of characters, all of whom carried a dark secret. He suggested that I talk to Robert Murphy whom he'd previously produced on Murder Cityfor ITV, and commissioned a script.

How did it evolve?
Robert suggested relocating the idea to a gated community for a more contemporary feel. There was very little editorial intervention, so Robert and I could move fast. This meant that the first script had real confidence and real voice. It took just six months from the first pitch to get the full series commissioned and we had a year to get it on screen.

Did you face any major challenges?
Clearly this put us on a very tight deadline. The other big challenge was developing where the series is set. Our idea was that this community was some kind of Petri dish, monitored entirely by the shadowy organisation that had set the project up. So we had to work out how the community could exist - and how the discrete micro-economy would work.

How did you get it to America?
Our producer, Caroline Levy, had produced a show, Oil Storm, in the US. With Ecosse she took the idea to Six Feet Underproducer Bob Greenblatt, who now runs drama at Showtime. He said it was the best script he'd read since Six Feet Under. Once David Morrissey was cast, he decided to come in as co-producer.

What did you think made it stand out?
The show looks and feels completely different from normal British TV. It has a truly American feel - which was our aim.

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