Christopher Lee in Robin Hardy’s 'The Wicker Man' (1973).

Christopher Lee in Robin Hardy’s 'The Wicker Man' (1973). Courtesy: Rialto Pictures/ Studiocanal.

1973’s ‘The Wicker Man’ has long been seen as a horror classic, featuring memorable performances from Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee and some of the most famous iconography in the scary movie genre.

The 2006 remake, directed by Neil LaBute and starring Nicolas Cage, is more remembered for awful reviews and this meme moment.

Putting a new spin on such a respected film is always a risk, then, which has you feeling for the team behind a new TV adaptation.

In case you’re unaware, Robin Hardy’s film finds Woodward as Police Sergeant Neil Howle, who journeys by seaplane to the remote Hebridean Island of Summerisle off the coast of Scotland to investigate the disappearance of a young girl.

The devout Christian is dismayed to find the Islanders (led by Lee’s Lord Summerisle) paying homage to the pagan Celtic gods of their ancestors and all hell breaks loose, ending in fiery tragedy…

Andy Serkis’ The Imaginarium and Urban Myth Films are teaming up to produce the new TV take on the story, ready to put a new spin on the story, set in contemporary Britain.

Nicolas Cage stars as Edward Malus in 2006's 'The Wicker Man.'

Nicolas Cage stars as Edward Malus in 2006's 'The Wicker Man.'

Howard Overman, who created British comedy drama ‘Misfits’ and a recent TV adaptation of ‘War of the Worlds’ (and is a partner in Urban Myth) is spearheading the writing for the new show. Overman says that the series will differ from the original, but “explore the same themes of sacrifice, superstition and ritual that were at its core.”

The writer has shown a talent for delivering classic stories with new ideas, including an adaptation of Douglas Adams’ 'Dirk Gently' and the ‘Black Mirror’-esque ‘The One’, about a matchmaking service that uses DNA profiles to help people find their perfect match.

According to Imaginarium co-founder Jonathan Cavendish, Overman has “created a bold, shocking and unique series, pulling the themes and terrifying power of the original ‘Wicker Man’ into a thrilling modern setting.”

This is far from the first time that someone has explored the idea of a follow-up or new version of the tale.

In 2000, ‘Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2’ director Joe Berlinger was announced as directing the remake, before LaBute took over. Christopher Lee expressed skepticism about the idea to Scotland’s ‘The Daily Record’: “I don’t believe in remakes. You can make a follow-up to a film, but to remake a movie with such history and success just doesn’t make sense to me.” Talk about prescient.

And StudioCanal has been entertaining ideas for a new show since acquiring the rights in 2014. ‘It’s a Sin’ producer Red Production Company explored a deal previously, but now The Imaginarium and Urban Myth are actually moving forward.

It’s very early days for this one, and the producers are about to start pitching the concept to broadcasters. So we’ll see if this one ends up on a traditional network (like the UK’s BBC or Channel 4) or one of the streaming services.

A scene from 1973's 'The Wicker Man,' directed by Robin Hardy.

A scene from 1973's 'The Wicker Man,' directed by Robin Hardy.

The Wicker Man

The Wicker Man

"Flesh to touch...Flesh to burn! Don't keep the Wicker Man waiting!"
R1 hr 28 minDec 21st, 2013
Showtimes & Tickets

The Wicker Man

"Some sacrifices must be made"
PG-131 hr 42 minSep 1st, 2006
Showtimes & Tickets