Sarah Pinborough Adaptation 'Insomnia' to Keep Viewers Wide Awake on the Small Screen

Eve Hewson as Adele Ferguson wears an apron and holds up a knife defensively in a darkened room

Eve Hewson as Adele Ferguson in previous Sarah Pinborough adaptation “Behind Her Eyes.”

Mark Mainz/Netflix

For any insomniac who’s spent sleepless nights binging TV, Paramount+’s newly announced series Insomnia might be an apt (if on-the-nose) show to add to your watchlist — and if its title is anything to go by; hopefully, it won’t be putting anyone to sleep. Based on the Sarah Pinborough novel of the same name, this psychological thriller has been ordered as a six-episode miniseries.

For those unfamiliar with Pinborough’s seemingly infinite list of thriller, fantasy, and young adult titles, her name may ring a bell because her writing has already been adapted for television. In 2016, her young adult thriller 13 Minutes became a Netflix show. More recently, her 2017 novel Behind Her Eyes was adapted into a series of the same name, which premiered in 2021 to mixed reviews.

While Behind Her Eyes was written by Steve Lightfoot (Shantaram), this time, the studio is handing the reins over to Pinborough, who will write her own scripts for Insomnia. This won’t be her first foray into screenwriting; in 2012, she wrote for the BBC series New Tricks. She has also been involved in developing several television projects that haven’t seen the light of day. Insomnia will be produced by Left Bank Pictures, the British production company behind such gems as The Crown and Outlander. Left Bank Pictures also produced Behind Her Eyes.

The official synopsis for Insomnia is as follows:

Insomnia follows successful career woman Emma Averill, who fears she might be losing her mind, when her hard-won dream life starts to turn into a nightmare. A couple of weeks before her fortieth birthday Emma stops sleeping — just as her mother had done at the same age and right before she suffered a violent psychotic break on the night of her own fortieth birthday. Emma’s mother always told her she’d go the same way, that she had the same “bad blood,” and now Emma’s terrified it’s true.

But even as Emma’s sleep deprivation starts making her question her own reality, she can’t help but feel like there’s something else amiss — her mother is in the hospital after a sudden injury, her estranged sister shows up in town without a word of warning and she constantly feels as if she is being watched. Is exhaustion just making her paranoid, or is someone maliciously trying to destroy her? As events worsen, Emma’s world starts to unravel and she realises that only by investigating the truth of her painful past, can she find the answers to her present and prevent tragedy from striking a second time.

Paramount+ commissioner Sebastian Cardwell said of the series, “Insomnia is a great addition to our growing UK scripted slate and is another example of the quality local content Paramount+ is commissioning from award-winning storytellers. We very much look forward to working with Left Bank Pictures on the series and seeing this heart-pounding thriller come to life.”

There have been no announcements about casting or premiere dates, but as the show is only in the early stages of development, it will be a while before those details are revealed.

Author Emma O’Neill-Dietel

Emma O’Neill-Dietel is a writer, educator, and history nerd from Philadelphia, PA. She eats, sleeps, and breathes Doctor Who but has been known to enjoy other British TV and movies too. She may love British media but don’t get it twisted; she’s Irish through and through. Follow her on Threads: @emmaod22.

More to Love from Telly Visions