Books

John Wyndham’s ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ sci-fi horror is coming to TV

John Wyndham’s classic novel The Midwich Cuckoos, aka The Village of the Dammed, is getting a reboot for television.

John Wyndham‘s sci-fi horror The Midwich Cuckoos tells the story of the quiet town of Midwich, where on one strange night, everyone within the town falls unconscious, and upon awakening, the women are all pregnant. As the children of the ‘phenomenon’ grow, it becomes clear they are no ordinary children. Classic Wyndham sci-fi horror at its best. 

Now there’s a fresh adaptation of the story in the form of a brand new TV show, which puts a modern update on Wyndham’s classic. The show is created and adapted by David Farr, who penned Amazon Prime Video’s Hanna, and co-stars Keeley Hawes and Max Beesley. 

john wyndham book to tv
Credit: Sky

After finding out they’re pregnant, the people of Midwich react in different ways. While some are thrilled, others are obviously freaked out, and attempt to abort the unexplained pregnancy growing inside them. The themes that govern the show, resonate with what going on in the world and feel all the more relevant now, in particular the subject of America’s recent abortion laws.

Keeley Hawes who plays Dr Zellaby spoke with SciFi and explained “This show has been very surprising in that things are becoming relevant since they started developing it,” Hawes says. “Just the fact that we’re talking about parallels with COVID and the scene with [the abortion and] what’s going on in America.”

The adaptation veers a little from the original storyline, bringing it to the foreground in a way that feels plausible, “I think [the show feels] different because it feels possible,” Aisley Loftus, who takes on the role of Zoe, tells of how this adaptation differs to those that have come before.

“Whereas the early versions are horror stories, this feels in the way that The Handmaid’s Tale feels possible. If you believe in alien forces – which, we probably all should, shouldn’t we? – I think it’s really unnerving as a story. You just don’t know what’s going to happen. If you’re living with a malign force, you don’t know from one day to the next what they’re going to do. And there seems to be an end game for these Cuckoos, so I think that’s a really interesting thing to follow.”

book to tv john wyndham
Credit: Sky

Writer David Farr commented when chatting to Express.co.uk and said that a major difference between the show and the novel is that the adaptation comes more from a female perspective. “It became really clear to me when I started to adapt it that there’s a big shift needed for a modern audience, the story is basically about women getting pregnant and yet, somehow, it’s so male as a book,” Farr said.

The Midwich Cuckoos is streaming on June 2nd only on Stan.