Adapted by Ed Whitmore, creator of new ITV drama Identity, the story focuses on the lives of four characters, Ruth, a young woman whose parents tragically died in a car crash when she was a child, her career-minded husband Patrick and his wealthy, all-consuming parents Elizabeth and Frederick.
With no family to call her own, Ruth is carried along on a tide of apparently well-meaning family gestures which leave the previously independent teacher pregnant and living in ‘the little house’ at the end of her in-laws driveway. It’s an idyllic place, and it seems ungrateful to complain when Elizabeth and Frederick have given the picture book cottage to their son and his wife as a generous gift.
Despite initial reservations about moving so close to her in-laws, within months Ruth has, on the surface, settled into her new, apparently perfect life. But she soon realises she’s completely isolated, living in a house she never wanted and with a baby she hadn’t planned to have.
In the early weeks of her baby’s life, Ruth struggles with postpartum depression and the unresolved feelings she has about the premature deaths of her parents. It appears as though her mother-in-law, Elizabeth, is manipulating information and situations to take control of Ruth, Patrick and their new baby. Or is she?
Throughout the drama, the character of Elizabeth and her relationship with Ruth are subtly developed as they both try and take control of their connected lives until, inevitably, and very dramatically, they reach a point of no return.
Consequently, the viewer will continually question: Is Elizabeth playing mind games with Ruth? Could she really be waging psychological warfare on her daughter in law? Or is Ruth hysterically distorting events in her own mind?
The Little House has been commissioned by ITV Drama Commissioners, Laura Mackie and Sally Haynes.
“The Little House is a creepy and compelling tale of the power struggles within one family. Ed’s script brilliantly captures the claustrophobia and tension in Philippa’s novel and constantly plays with your perceptions of the two central women. It’s an atmospheric and chilling drama,” said Laura.
The Little House will be produced by TXTV who previously produced the critically acclaimed three part drama, Torn for ITV in 2007 and starred Holly Aird and Bradley Walsh.
“We are delighted to be working with ITV again,” said Jeremy Gwilt who will produce and also executive produce with colleagues Matt Arlidge and Chris Lang. “We know the audience will enjoy The Little House as it promises to be gripping drama.”
Filming for The Little House will take place in May and June 2010.