MEGHAN Markle and Prince Harry have been accused of ripping off their latest Netflix idea.
Their “feminist” prequel to Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is almost identical to a BBC adaptation made a decade ago, it has been claimed.
Harry and Meghan are pitching show ideas to Netflix bossesCredit: Getty
A 2015 Great Expectation adaptation on the BBC, Dickensian, followed the life of a young Miss HavishamCredit: BBC
The couple want to create a version focused on Miss Havisham, a wealthy spinster who wears her wedding dress constantly from the moment she’s jilted at the altar.
Harry and Meghan have been pitching new ideas after losing an £18million podcast contract with Spotify.
Multiple adaptations have already focused on Miss Havisham’s character.
Most recently, Olivia Coleman played Miss Havisham in a 2023 BBC series.
Miss Havisham sits at her wedding breakfast table, surrounded by rotting food, at Satis House.
She lives with her adopted daughter, Estella, who she teaches to torment men with her beauty.
Havisham encourages the book’s hero Pip to fall in love with Estella – before making sure she breaks his heart.
Late in the novel she begs Pip for forgiveness after Estella shuns him to marry violent rogue Bentley Drummley.
Miss Havisham’s final words, before she dies after her wedding dress catches alight, are an apology to Estella.
Harry and Meghan are said to still be developing a proposal for the Netflix show, which they’ve called ‘Bad Manners’.
The show would see Miss Havisham cast as a “strong woman living in a patriarchal society”, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
But Dr Emily Bell, an English professor and editor of The Dickensian, the journal of the prestigious Dickens Fellowship, has claimed yet another “rehash” of Miss Havisham’s life “isn’t feminist”.
She told MailOnline: “Making her a ‘strong woman living in a patriarchal society’ seems to invite us to watch a strong woman get broken, without what Dickens gives us: a sense that things can be righted, even if in only small ways and only for the next generation, at the end.”
Harry and Meghan reportedly signed an £85million ($100million) deal with Netflix in 2020.
And the couple have allegedly been told to come up with more must-watch shows if they want to be paid £40million in outstanding fees.
Other ideas already rejected include an Emily In Paris-type tale but with a man as the lead, and a family-friendly TV show about gay characters comparable with Heartstoppers, according to the WSJ.
The couple’s six-part soul-baring series was the streaming giant’s most-viewed documentary.
But the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are believed to have been paid only half of their reported £81million contract.
And they will get the rest only if they produce content of real interest, an industry source has revealed.
The source said the US giant is happy with the viewing figures for the couple’s Harry & Meghan series.
It proves they can be box-office hits with the right format.
But if no suitable follow-ups can be agreed, the outstanding cash will not be handed over, it is claimed.
The couple will not face a public split from Netflix following the end of their Spotify deal, it has been claimed.
Their Archewell company’s £18million deal with the platform was ended by mutual agreement after Meghan, 41, produced only 13 broadcasts in two-and-a half years.
The industry source said of the Netflix arrangement: “There’s no question of a headline-grabbing, public parting of the way.
“Netflix was pleased to sign Harry and Meghan and is looking for some great ideas going forward.
“But the remainder of the deal relies on them producing those good ideas. The deal’s continually under review which is normal for ones of this magnitude.”
Last week The Sun on Sunday quoted a Netflix insider claiming “the lemon has been fully squeezed”.
Harry’s series Heart of Invictus about the Olympic-style games he started for wounded ex-service competitors is due to air in August.
But Meghan’s animated series Pearl, about a girl inspired by historical female figures, was dropped.
Netflix bosses are awaiting the final series of royal drama The Crown featuring the early stages of William and Kate’s relationship.
It comes after respected news agency Bloomberg reported Prince Harry, 38, wanted to interview Russian president Vladimir Putin and former US president Donald Trump for Spotify.
A Netflix spokesman told Entertainment Tonight: “We value our partnership with Archewell Productions.
“Harry and Meghan was Netflix’s biggest documentary debut ever, and we’ll continue to work together on a number of projects, including the upcoming documentary series Heart of Invictus.”
Olivia Coleman played Miss Havisham in an adaptation for the BBC this yearCredit: BBC
Miss Havisham played by Gillian Anderson and a young Pip played by Oscar Kennedy in a 2011 adaptationCredit: BBC
Harry and Meghan have been pitching new ideas after losing an £18million podcast contract with SpotifyCredit: BackGrid