Allan Quatermain headed to the small screen

Sonar Entertainment and Ecosse Films have announced a partnership to develop a new television serial based on the 1880s novels about the colonial big-game hunter turned adventurer and hero.

Most modern genre audiences have only heard of Quatermain from his role in The Extraordinary Gentlemen, a graphic novel by Alan Moore, and later, a film starring Sean Connery.

Both depict a version of Quatermain in his old age, his hero days though long behind him as he is recruited into a sort of Justice League of the late 1800s.

The Quatermain of the original novels by H. Rider Haggard was an Englishman who set out into the wild English territories due to a strong distaste for what English civilization had become. He spends his time in Africa, where he is well known to the natives.

While hunting big game, and trading along the coast, Quatermain has run ins with several supernatural and legendary figures of Africa. Interestingly, his story begins with a pair of novels which describe the end of his life, when even the discovery of a lost fortune in gold cannot console him for the loss of his wife and son. Later books are all prequels to these, describing the adventures which brought him to that terrible and painful place where he met his end.

The stories cover nearly half a century, and so there are lots of versions of Quatermain, at many maturity levels, and in several political climates. Many of the stories are centrally themed around the opulence of English life and the careless frivolity of the English emipre, a seeming word of warning to English aristocracy.

It’s often said that Quatermain was the main inspiration for Indiana Jones, another educated, skilled explorer who despises the trappings of society, though with otherwise much different themes – Indiana Jones stories were often cautionary tales about greed and the importance of the preservation of artifacts.

There is no word about which parts of the Quatermain story will be depicted, but we’ve learned the plan is for 10 episodes to be produced at $3 million apiece.

“It’s an incredible character from a range of best selling books,” said Stewart Till, CEO of Sona. “I read all the books as a child and it is something that many Brits have grown up with. It’s also the kind of high-concept adventure that broadcasters are looking for.”

As Allan Quatermain has been in the public domain for some time, the studio and production company did not have need to secure the rights from any previous holder.

The unnamed Allan Quatermain serial is still in early development, and there are currently no networks announced to be in on the discussions.