ITV Seeks Post Office Drama Successor With Series On Devastating Contaminated Blood Scandal Penned By Peter Moffat

EXCLUSIVE: ITV is on the hunt for a Mr Bates vs the Post Office successor and has landed on the devastating contaminated blood scandal, with Peter Moffat attached.

Double-BAFTA winner Moffat is writing the untitled series based on what took place in the 1970s and 1980s, which ITV is describing as the “biggest health scandal in our history.”

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The drama focuses on how haemophiliacs and those with other blood disorders were contaminated with tainted blood infecting them with HIV and hepatitis. In 2022, a report found that around 1,250 people with bleeding disorders were infected with HIV and that at least a further 2,400 people were infected with Hepatitis C. Around three-quarters of those infected with HIV died and at least 700 infected with Hepatitis C died, the report concluded. An inquiry took place last year with the likes of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak interviewed.

Drawing obvious comparisons with the post office series, Moffat’s show will examine what doctors, politicians and giant pharmaceutical companies knew then about the risk, and the wrongs that have stretched over half a century.

Unusually, ITV has greenlit the series with a writer but without a production company attached. Deadline understands that drama head Polly Hill effectively fast-tracked the greenlight off the back of the monumental success of Mr Bates and is still seeking an indie to pair with the show, although conversations are in advanced stages. Moffat was working on the show prior to the launch of Mr Bates.

Hill said Moffat’s scripts “are brilliant and do justice to this important story, while bringing it to screen with real clarity and compassion.”

Moffat added: “It’s been a great privilege to meet those infected and affected and to learn about what they have been through. I’m ashamed to say that when I started researching this story I knew next to nothing about it. I’m even more ashamed that this ignorance is shared by nearly everyone I mention it to. The victims of this scandal have been let down again and again by the state – I hope in some small way this drama can help their voices be heard.”

Mr Bates vs the Post Office pushed the post office scandal that has seen thousands of sub-postmasters wrongly accused of theft and fraud to the front pages of British newspapers for weeks, and has initiated real change. It is ITV’s most-watched series since Downton Abbey.

Speaking to Deadline in the week that it aired, Hill said British stories like Mr Bates are becoming “increasingly hard” to fund in today’s landscape, although several days later PBS Masterpiece in the U.S. acquired the show.

Moffat won two BAFTAs for 2009’s Criminal Justice. He is currently penning a TV adaptation of Jonathan Freedland’s book The Escape Artist.

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