BBC Studios and Independent to develop TV drama series based on the life of infamous British drug smuggler Howard Marks

25 July 2019

BBC Studios and Independent are set to develop a drama series on the extraordinary life of infamous drug smuggler, Howard Marks based on his own international best-selling and now iconic autobiography, MR NICE.

The new series will be written by Neil Forsyth (Urban Myths, Eric, Ernie and Me) and will play out on an international stage through the 1970s and 80s.

This is the story of a boy from South Wales who devoted his exceptional intellect, wit and charm to smuggle drugs. Assembling associates ranging from Oxford academics, Pakistani millionaires to IRA sympathisers and CIA informants, he created ingenious ways of trafficking enormous amounts of marijuana into Canada, the US and the UK and in the process became one of America’s most wanted men. But for all of his inventiveness he couldn’t avoid the attentions of the authorities forever.

Neil Forsyth says:  "I’m delighted to be adapting Howard Marks' story. Who wouldn’t want to take a journey into a thrilling, dangerous and often surreal world, guided by a charming, fearless, and often stoned Welshman?”

Hilary Salmon, BBC Studios Executive Producer says:  “With over 43 aliases and such a colourful list of associates this very British anti-hero ran the police on both sides of the Atlantic ragged for decades. The time feels right to tell the unbelievable and outrageous truth of Howard’s story on the bigger canvas that today’s television affords.’’

Luc Roeg and Andrew Orr of Independent say: “We are excited to be working with BBC Studios on a television series based on Howard Marks’ best-selling autobiography, Mr Nice.  It was clear from our first meeting with Neil Forsyth that he was the right choice to adapt Howard’s legendary story for television.” 

The rights to Howard’s book Mr Nice are jointly owned by BBC Studios Drama, London and Independent, with executive producers Hilary Salmon for BBC Studios and Luc Roeg and Andrew Orr for Independent.

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