Peter Harness

Writer for television, film and theatre
View PDF version


Peter Harness was born and grew up in Yorkshire. He studied English at Oxford University, where he was president of the Oxford Revue.

Peter’s first broadcast script was A View From a Hill, based on a short story by MR James, a revival of the BBC’s beloved ‘Ghost Story for Christmas’ strand. Since then, he has written a number of single films and series for TV, including the Spanish Flu drama The Forgotten Fallen, the Frankie Howerd biopic Rather You Than Me (starring David Walliams), and episodes of City of Vice and Case Histories. His debut feature, Is Anybody There?, starring Michael Caine and David Morrissey, premiered in 2009 to considerable critical acclaim.

He wrote and executed produced the third and fourth seasons of the hit detective drama Wallander (starring Kenneth Branagh). Currently, he's writing for Doctor Who as well as developing original projects and high-end adaptations for Feel Films, BBC Wales and Cuba Pictures.
His BBC adaptation of the best-selling book Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, in 7 hour long parts, was broadcast in Spring 2015, to effusive praise across the UK and US press.



Writer & Executive Producer

Producer Nick Hirschkorn
Director Toby Haynes
  • Eddie Marsan
  • Bertie Carvel
  • Alice Englert
  • Marc Warren
    Adaptation of Susanna Clarke's novel. Set in England during the Industrial Revolution and at the start of the 19th century, Peter Harness’ adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s best-selling novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell presents us with a fictional historical backdrop where magic is commonly learnt, though rarely practised. Jonathan Strange’s enthusiasm to practise magic leads him to discover Mr Norrell, the only practising magician left in England.
    Cuba Pictures for BBC1
    Producer Sanne Wohlenberg
    Director Toby Haynes
  • Kenneth Branagh

    Lead writer and executive producer on the third and fourth series of the acclaimed detective series, with episodes adapted from the books An Event in Autumn, The Dogs of Riga, Before The Frost, and The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell.

    Left Bank for BBC1


    Creator Peter Harness
    Producer Brian Minchin
    BBC Wales for BBC
    In development
    Producer Nick Hirschkorn
    Feel Films
    In development
    Producer Peter Bennett
    Director Paul Wilmshurst
  • Peter Capaldi
  • Jenna Coleman

    Three episodes of the legendary science fiction series: Kill The Moon, The Zygon Invasion and The Zygon Inversion.

    BBC for BBC One
    Case Histories: Series 1 & 2
    BAFTA Scotland - Best Series
    2 x 60’, 1 x 90’
    Producer Eric Coulter, Helen Gregory
    Director Kenny Glenaan, Dan Zeff
  • Zawe Ashton
  • Emma Hamilton
  • Jason Isaacs
  • Amanda Abbington

    Detective drama based on the novels of Kate Atkinson, with episodes adapted from When Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog.

    Ruby Film and Television for BBC1
    Producer Susan Horth
    Director Justin Hardy
  • Kenneth Cranham
  • Paul Freeman
  • Mark Gatiss
  • Bill Paterson

    Drama about the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

    Hardy & Sons for BBC 4
    1 x 90'
    Producer Sue Horth
    Director Justin Hardy
  • Ian Holm
  • Gemma Lawrence
  • Bjorn Thors

    Epic miniseries about the Viking invasion of England and the Battle of Hastings.

    Hardy Pictures for Channel 4
    City of Vice
    RTS Nominated: Best Series, Writers Guild Award Nominated: Best Series
    5 x 60'
    Producer Sue Horth
    Director Justin Hardy
  • Iain Glen
  • Ian McDiarmid

    Multiple episodes of historical drama set in vice-ridden Georgian London about the origins of the English Police force.

    Hardy Pictures for Channel 4
    Producer Ben Evans
    Director John Alexander
  • Rafe Spall
  • David Walliams
    Biopic about the famous comedian
    BBC Productions for BBC 4
    1 x 60'
    Producer Sue Horth
    Director Justin Hardy
  • Geraldine James
  • Kris Marshall
    Comedy drama set in medieval London
    Hardy Pictures for BBC4
    Producer Pier Wilkie
    Director Luke Watson
  • David Burke
  • Mark Letheren
  • Pip Torrens

    Revival of the classic BBC ‘A Ghost Story for Christmas’ strand. Adaptation of a story by MR James.

    BBC Productions for BBC4
    The Waters of Babylon
    Winner: Dennis Potter Screenwriting Award
    1 x 90'
    Winner of the Dennis Potter Screenwriting Award
    BBC Films
    In development
    Pilot of 6 x 60'
    Producer Helen Gregory

    Drama set amongst the inmates of a high security psychiatric prison.

    Ruby Film and TV for BBC
    Department 666
    Pilot for 6 x 60'
    Producer Sally Woodward Gentle

    Supernatural drama series set in black ops in London during WWII.

    Carnival Films for BBC
    In development
    Creator Peter Harness & Stephen Fry
    Producer Gina Carter
    Period drama series about the first four Georges to reign in England
    Sprout for BBC
    In development



    Producer David Heyman
    Director John Crowley
  • Sir Michael Caine
  • David Morrissey
    Tragi-comedy charting the unlikely friendship between an octogenarian magician and a ten year old boy
    Optimum Releasing
    Heyday Films



    Director Thea Sharrock
    Southwark Playhouse