‘Pure’ success for Kirstie

Screen writer Kirstie Swain whose script Pure has been commissioned by Channel 4.
Screen writer Kirstie Swain whose script Pure has been commissioned by Channel 4.

Channel Four has commissioned a new six-part television comedy drama Pure, from a novel by Rose Bretécher and adapted for television by up-and-coming scriptwriter Kirstie Swain, from Ayton.

Kirstie’s script is described as being a ‘painfully human, sharply observed, and outrageously funny adaptation of Rose Bretécher’s acclaimed book’. It is a moving, warm and truthful exploration of one young woman’s search for herself and her very real struggle with mental illness.

The heroine of the story, Marnie, suffers from a form of obsessive compulsive disorder, nicknamed ‘pure O’, where her obsessions take the form of intrusive thoughts, often sexual, that affect her daily life and relationships. The story follows her as she leaves university in Scotland and heads to London.

“Kirstie’s scripts truly crackle with her searingly honest portrayal of the high points and horrors of being young. They are endlessly witty, wise and wonderful,” said Beth Willis, head of drama at Channel 4.

“We are so thrilled that she and the brilliant producers of My Mad Fat Diary will soon be landing on Channel 4.”

Writer Kirstie Swain, admits: “I’ve always been an obsessive-worrier and over-thinker. Or maybe it’s the other way round. It runs through me like a stick of rock.

“While I don’t suffer from Rose’s exact condition, Pure resonated so deeply with me because I can absolutely relate to the experience of being an outer calm and an inner cyclone.

“I’m so glad to be making this show with Drama Republic and Channel 4. It embodies everything I want to say as a woman and as a writer and it gives voice to the often silent issue of mental health.”

Rose Bretécher, author of the memoir, added: “When I wrote my memoir, Pure, my mental health condition was virtually unheard of, and my thoughts were deeply taboo. As my story is re-imagined on-screen, we have a unique opportunity to reach untold thousands of people who have lived for years, as I did, in secrecy and shame.

Roanna Benn, executive producer for Drama Republic, said: “We are so thrilled that Rose has entrusted her deeply personal, brave and wonderfully candid memoir to us. And we couldn’t be prouder that this will be screenwriter Kirstie Swain’s first original series. Kirstie is a fearless writer: funny, idiosyncratic and deep!”

Filming begins in early 2018 and will be shown on Channel 4 later that year.