Synchronicity Films (The cry, only you) is partnering with Brazen Productions to develop and produce a fictionalized miniseries based on the upcoming book The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes: the Transgender Trial that Threatened to Upend the British Establishment, written by Professor Emeritus of Medical Humanities at the ‘University of London Zoé Playdon.
BAFTA-winning trans writer Sukey Fisher (Soundproof, Unconditional, Electricity) is on board to adapt the book into a scripted miniseries for television about love, gender identity and politics set in rural and royal Scotland in the 1900s – and how that start in life comes up against the surprisingly repressive values of the 1960s.
Based on the extraordinary real-life story of Aberdonian doctor, farmer and baronet Ewan Forbes-Sempill, who in 1952 corrected the sex on his birth certificate in order to marry the love of his life Isabella “Patty” Mitchell, the series will be located in and around the Scottish aristocratic family of Forbes-Sempill and Craigievar Castle, seat of the Forbes clan for 350 years.
Ewan’s marriage, the couple’s freedom and Ewan’s gender all became very politically charged when his legacy of Barony Forbes was challenged in Scotland’s highest court by his cousin John, who claimed that Ewan was “really” a woman.
Ewan’s case was hidden for decades by a government that believed “there are interests more important to protect than the rights of individuals” until Professor Zoë Playdon found out. , “Allowing this remarkable story of love and struggle to live authentically. be brought to the screen.
Claire Mundell says: “Based on Zoë Playdon’s extensive research in her incredible book of the same name, ‘The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes’ will shine a light on this little-known love story, which has remarkable resonance in 2021. Life Ewan and Marriage provide a lens through which we can explore contemporary themes of gender identity and the freedom to live and love authentically – and we are delighted to have such a thoughtful writer to Sukey to bring this story to the general public around the world.
Jules Hussey of Brazen Productions adds: “Zoe’s archaeological discovery of Ewan’s life, love and struggle reveals not only how far he would go to protect his marriage, but also how far the human rights of the people trans have regressed from 50 years ago. I am so happy that Synchronicity has embraced this project and I am honored to be a part of this story on screen with such passionate co-creators and allies.
Sukey Fisher says, “Ewan’s life is one of the most daring lives I know, forced to endure unthinkable hardships by authority figures and biased experts, emerging triumphant but at appalling cost. He is an ordinary but splendid man. His ordeal more than 50 years ago belongs as much to the present as to the past. The idea that trans lives do not belong to the person who lives them but to everyone else who cares to express an opinion is no less true today, and our civil rights are more fragile in 2021 than they are. ‘they haven’t been for a generation.
Zoë Playdon adds: “Most people don’t know that until the 1960s trans people self-identified, received affirmative medical treatment, corrected their birth certificates and lived on equal terms with everyone else. world. Ewan was the reason that changed. But I hope the historical realities so skillfully staged by Sukey, Synchronicity and Brazen Productions will help everyone realize that restoring trans equality is an urgent matter of social justice.
Zoë Playdon is Emeritus Professor of Medical Humanities at the University of London. Former Co-President of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Physicians and Dentists [GLADD], in 1994, she and her colleague, Dr Lynne Jones MP, co-founded the Parliamentary Forum on Gender Identity, which continues to meet. For over twenty years, Zoë was Professor and Head of Postgraduate Medical Education at the NHS Kent, Surrey and Sussex Regional Postgraduate Medical Deanery. She has over thirty years of frontline LGBTI human rights experience, working as an advisor to legal teams, trans community groups, government departments, the NHS and medicine.
Zoë’s book “The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes and the Unwritten History of the Trans Experience” is due for release in the US on 2sd November 2021 by Scribner, and Bolinda as an audiobook, and the 11e November in UK by Bloomsbury. It is described by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC as “a landmark work on history, law and social change”.
Sukey Fisher is an award-winning screenwriter, who has lived in film and television for 20 years. As a writer with a disability, she is particularly aware of the additional barriers, visible and invisible, that the business can put too many people at risk and is committed to including and representing all groups properly in all art forms. – and in the workplace in general. She is a founding member and now co-chair, along with Sumerah Srivastav, of the Equality and Diversity Committee of the UK Writers Union.
Sukey Fisher is represented by Christine Glover at Casarotto and Zoë Playdon is represented by St John Donald at United Agents.
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