Stuff the British Stole to become scripted heist drama

The successful factual series will become a six-part scripted heist drama created and written by Anchuli Felicia King and produced by Wooden Horse.
Anchuli Felicia King

Marc Fennell’s documentary series Stuff the British Stole has just begun airing its second series on ABC TV, poking around at the impact of British colonialism and the theft of important cultural artefacts.

But in the background, moves have been afoot to turn the successful Australian-Canadian factual series into a six-part scripted heist caper, that, according to the producers, is ‘an exploration of the the nuanced debate around repatriation through a sharply funny lens.’

As reported by Deadine and The Hollywood Reporter this week, the six by one-hour dramatic adaptation is currently in development, with Australian-Thai playwright and screenwriter Anchuli Felicia King as creator and writer.

Read: An interview with Marc Fennell about Stuff the British Stole

As a playwright, King’s credits include the widely produced and acclaimed The Pearl and Golden Shield, and as a screenwriter, she’s written on The Sympathizer, the HBO TV adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, starring Robert Downey Jr and Sandra Oh, as well as on Mary and George (AMC), the historical drama starring Julianne Moore.

King has also written episodes for the HBO/Sky’s dark horror comedy The Baby and for both series 1 and 2 of the Australian Foxtel drama The Twelve.

The dramatic adaptation of Stuff the British Stole is backed by Warner Bros International Television Production Australia (The Twelve, Love Me) and the Australian film and one of the TV production companies behind the factual series, Wooden Horse (The Clearing, Mother & Son).

Wooden Horse’s Jude Troy and Richard’s Finlayson are executive producing alongside Warner Bros’ Michael Brooks and Hamish Lewis. Marc Fennell is also an executive producer on the new drama.

Ben Chessell (The Great, Doctor Who) is attached as set-up director, and will also write episodes, along with Kacie Anning (The Other Guy, Upload) and award-winning First Nations writer and playwright Dylan Van Den Berg.

According to the producers’ statement: ‘Led by Anchuli Felicia King, the writing team, alongside attached set-up director Ben Chessell, have developed a unique cast of diverse and fascinating characters, who almost accidentally steal their way to becoming the heroes of a global repatriation movement… In doing so, they find themselves not just on the run, but in the middle of a multi-government, political shit storm.’

‘If there’s one thing we learned from the brilliant Stuff the British Stole factual series, it’s that history is complex – a lesson our characters will learn the hard way.’

The factual TV series Stuff the British Stole is itself an adaptation of Fennell’s podcast of the same name. A third series of the TV documentary is currently in development from producers Wooden Horse, WildBear Entertainment and Cream Productions.

Read: Stuff the British Stole Season 2, ABC review

Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She is a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk