‘Shuggie Bain’ series: BBC adapting Douglas Stuart’s 1980s Glasgow novel

A television adaptation of Shuggie Bain has been announced.

Based on his own Booker Prize-winning debut novel, Scottish-American author Douglas Stuart is writing the series for the BBC.

It’ll be made by A24, the acclaimed producers of Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts, Midsommar, The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Green Knight, and this year’s acclaimed hit Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Published in 2020, Shuggie Bain is inspired by Douglas Stuart’s own childhood and mother-son relationship in Thatcher-era working class Glasgow in the 1980s.

The official synopsis for the series reads: “Shuggie’s mother Agnes – a luminous, glamourous star she has always believed herself to be – dreams of a house with its own front door, ordering a little happiness on credit.

“Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion’s share of each week’s benefits – all the family has to live on.

“To Shuggie, an effeminate boy who struggles to fit in, Agnes is his guiding light. He cares for her as she battles with alcoholism while he struggles to become the normal boy he desperately longs to be.”

Described as “a heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality, and love,” Douglas Stuart’s novel was praised as “recalling the work of Édouard Louis, Alan Hollinghurst, Frank McCourt, and Hanya Yanagihara.”

Stuart commented: “I’m thrilled to bring the Bain family to the screen and the opportunity to expand on my novel and to bring new threads to the story, exploring hardships and struggles as well as the compassion, humour, and resilience that is so central to the Scottish spirit.”

Gaynor Holmes, BBC Drama Commissioning Editor, added: “Shuggie Bain is an extraordinary novel, with all the makings of extraordinary television.”

Shuggie Bain begins filming in Scotland soon.

The series will premiere in 2023 on BBC One and streaming on iPlayer.

A documentary about author Douglas Stuart airs on BBC One tonight at 10.40pm, titled Imagine… Douglas Stuart: Love, Grit and Hope.

Douglas Stuart’s novel Shuggie Bain is available on Amazon.