Disney+ has today announced the brand new original series, RIVALS, an eight-part UK original series based on the much loved novel by Jilly Cooper, which will premiere on Disney+ in EMEA and Asia Pacific and Star+ in Latin America.
RIVALS is part of the author’s bestselling Rutshire Chronicles, an iconic and beloved piece of British literary history, capturing the joy, drama, excess, and brazen power-grabbing of the affluent elite in 1980s England.
RIVALS is executive produced by Dominic Treadwell-Collins (A Very English Scandal, Holding, EastEnders) and Alexander Lamb (The Bay, We Hunt Together, Ackley Bridge) and written by Treadwell-Collins with Olivier Award-winner Laura Wade (The Riot Club).
RIVALS dives headfirst into the cutthroat world of independent television in 1986, where the shoulder pads are big and ambitions even bigger. In the fictional upper-class county of Rutshire, a long-standing rivalry between two powerful men is about to boil over: ex-Olympian, Member of Parliament, and notorious womaniser Rupert Campbell-Black, and his Rutshire neighbour Tony Baddingham, controller of the independent TV franchise Corinium Television. As tensions rise and rivalries deepen, there are spilled secrets, forged alliances, and snatched liaisons that draw wives, lovers, colleagues, friends, and families into their battle.
Rivals is a joyously mischievous rollercoaster ride, steamy in its love stories and packed with larger-than-life characters. Yet beneath the spectacle and fun, the series brings a 2020s lens to the 1980s, offering a raw exploration of a complicated moment in British history when class, race, sex, wealth, and sexual liberation meant that, for the very privileged few, there were no limits to what they could achieve.
EP and Rivals author Jilly Cooper commented:
“I am so, so excited. Throughout my childhood, my favourite word was ‘Disney’, and by a miraculous coincidence, greater-than-ever Disney are joining forces with an utterly brilliant drama company, Happy Prince, to turn my novel into a TV series. I know they will bring the boardroom battles and love triangles of my characters to life – particularly those of my devastatingly handsome hero. I cannot wait to see who will be stepping into his shoes…let the hunt for our Rupert Campbell-Black commence!”
The lead director is BAFTA-nominated Elliot Hegarty (Ted Lasso, Cheaters, Trying), who also serves as executive producer on episodes 1-3. Eliza Mellor (The Midwich Cuckoos, Behind Her Eyes, Poldark) serves as Series Producer.
In addition to Treadwell-Collins and Wade, the series writers room also includes: Sophie Goodhart (The Baby, Sex Education), Marek Horn, Mimi Hare & Clare Naylor (The Accidental Husband), Dare Aiyegbayo (The Dumping Ground, EastEnders), Kefi Chadwick (Looted, Avoidance), Tray Agyeman, and Sorcha Kurien Walsh (The Pink Pill).