Stay on target
IDW Entertainment is set to bring another book to the small screen, as well as a comic book series based on that story.
It was announced Thursday that IDW is developing a limited drama series based on the 2007 true crime biography The Devil: Britain’s Most Feared Underworld Taxman by Graham Johnson in conjunction with Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo, who optioned the book for adaptation.
Pompeo and Laura Holstein will serve as executive producers, along with IDW executives Ted Adams and David Ozer.
“We are thrilled to be working with Ellen and Laura on The Devil,” Ozer said in a press release. “It is such a captivating and strong character that will resonate with a global audience.”
The plan is to release the series on an as yet unknown network and then publish a comic book series. The company has been behind a number of critically-acclaimed series, including 30 Days of Night, Locke & Key, and Wynonna Earp, which it also distributes over at the Syfy Network.
Unfortunately, it’s not about an actual devil. French’s story is probably most attractive to true crime fans, although readers looking for a dark series of a complex, vigilante-type figure with a shady past might find some aspects appealing. The book tells the tale of gangster Stephen French. According to Johnson, French robbed notorious drug barons in Liverpool during the late 1980s and early 1990s of their fortunes, earning the name the “Taxman.” However, he would break into their mansions and torture them, also earning himself the “Devil” moniker.
He was a former crime boss himself and sought to go straight. According to Johnson, French, due to his connections, upbringing, and close relationship with fellow criminal Curtis Warren, couldn’t really break free.
“There is no doubt that in his day French was a serious criminal, but I think, like most criminals, there comes a point where they want to go straight,” Johnson said in 2013. “There are two problems French has faced – one, will other people let you go straight and, two, can you live without the status and the power that being a gangster gives you?…I think French has struggled with those demons.”
Either way, this guy’s story is quite the roller coaster. Despite saying he was reformed, French was sentenced to three years in prison for pistol-whipping a business rival in 2013 with an imitation gun. He has become a mainstay in Liverpool tabloids ever since, getting sent back to jail in Jan. 2016 for violating the conditions of his parole and on domestic abuse allegations. He was recently found not guilty of rape.