Anansi Boys: Second Neil Gaiman series to film entirely in Scotland this year

Best-selling fantasy writer Neil Gaiman has revealed he is to join forces with comedy legend Sir Lenny Henry to make a second major series in Scotland this year.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 3:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 6:06 pm
Production on the new Amazon Studios series Anansi Boys will get underway in Scotland later this year.

The pair will be reuniting to work on a six-part adaptation of Gaiman’s 2005 novel Anansi Boys, which will be filmed entirely in Scotland by Amazon Studios.

The new six-part show, which will be based at the new First Stage Studios in Leith, has been confirmed weeks after it was announced that Amazon Studios would be making a new series of Good Omens, which will be based at the Pyramids Business Park in Bathgate.

Gaiman has confirmed that both shows, which will be directed Scottish filmmaker Douglas Mackinnon, will be in production at the same time.

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Sir Lenny, who is co-writing the Anansi Boys series with Gaiman, helped created the original storyline for the book –about a young man who discovers after his father’s death that he was a “trickster god” and has a long-lost brother – and later starred in two BBC radio adaptations.

Writing on his blog, Gaiman said Anansi Boys was originally planned to be shot on location “all around the word” but has been salvaged by the availability of the vast studio facility in Leith where the Amazon series The Rig has been made this year.

Gaiman said: “Douglas came up with a plan to bring Anansi Boys to the screen that was audacious, creative and brilliant.

"All we needed to make it work was the biggest studio in Europe and access to an awful lot of cutting edge technology. The biggest studio in Europe happens to be in Leith.

“Before Covid, the plan had been first to make Anansi Boys, then immediately to make Good Omens 2. That was the plan we were working on through most of 2020. Then, in September 2020, Douglas and I got a call from Amazon. ‘We've got good news and complicated news for you, they said. “The good news is we are greenlighting both Good Omens and Anansi Boys. The complicated news is... well, how do you feel about making them both at the same time?’ So...Anansi Boys is coming.”

Sir Lenny said: “I’ve been a huge fan (and couch sleeping friend) of Neil Gaiman’s for over 30 years and I have loved being a part of the Anansi Boys creative team. I love that we’re going to have a suitably diverse cast and crew to tell this joyous story.”

Mackinnon said: “I’m thrilled that we get to take the story of Anansi Boys from page to screen with the creative powers of Neil and Lenny, as well as an extraordinary group of other writers, directors, and a cast and crew of so many diverse perspectives alongside us.

"We’ll be shooting in brand new studios in Scotland where we’ll have the most cutting-edge CGI technology in the world to make all the magic and wonder of Anansi Boys come to life.”

Anansi Boys will be based at the new First Stage Studios complex in Leith.

Screen Scotland's executive director Isabel Davis said: “It’s phenomenal that Amazon Studios, Douglas Mackinnon and Neil Gaiman are bringing a second production to Scotland.

"It’s having a transformative impact on the local industry and Screen Scotland has been delighted to work with the production and the team at First Stage Studios to support it coming to Scotland.”