Malala Inks Deal with Apple to Produce TV Shows

Published March 9th, 2021 - 02:00 GMT
Malala Inks Deal with Apple to Produce TV Shows
The 23-year-old Pakistani activist, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt as a teenager and graduated from Oxford last summer, will produce shows with her new production studio Extracurricular that aim to 'inspire people around the world'. (Shutterstock)

Malala Yousafzai is moving into television in a deal with Apple which will see the Nobel Peace Prize winner make comedies, documentaries and children's shows for the tech giant's streaming service Apple TV+. 

The 23-year-old Pakistani activist, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt as a teenager and graduated from Oxford last summer, will produce shows with her new production studio Extracurricular that aim to 'inspire people around the world'.

Some of the content will focus on Malala's own campaign for girls' education, but she will also work on dramas, comedies and animated series in what Apple described as a 'multi-year partnership'. 

She joins the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg on Apple's list of big-name recruits in the so-called 'streaming wars' with rivals including Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime. 

Malala said her newly-founded production company would look to recruit 'women, young people, writers and artists' to 'reflect the world as they see it'. 

'I believe in the power of stories to bring families together, forge friendships, build movements, and inspire children to dream,' she said.   

Malala started blogging for the BBC when she was 12, writing under a pen name about living under the rule of the Taliban in Pakistan. 

The militants had gained a significant foothold Pakistan's Swat Valley and imposed a fundamentalist version of Islam which banned education for girls. 

Malala's campaign for education rights won her widespread attention but drew the wrath of the Taliban, whose leadership ordered her murder. 

In October 2012, she was shot on board a bus by a Taliban hitman whose bullet struck near her left eye, went through her neck and lodged in her shoulder.

She recovered after months of treatment at home and abroad, propelling her to international fame. 

In 2014, she became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate at aged 17, and her best-selling memoir I Am Malala was published the same year.   

Last summer she finished her PPE degree at Oxford, saying what lay ahead was 'Netflix, reading and sleep'. 

But she now says she is 'exploring ideas' for her suite of productions with Apple - adding that she has laughed along to cartoons since she was a child. 

'In my childhood, it was Cartoon Network and, you know, seeing Tom and Jerry, Courage, Scooby Doo and all of those TV cartoon shows,' she said. 

'When you are a child - and especially when terrorism started - to know that there is sort of this world in cartoons where you can escape from the reality around you and just giggle and laugh and just entertain yourself.'

She added: 'You know, I have been watching comedy movies from Bollywood to Hollywood, and I am a big fan of animation as well. 

'I have not missed a single animation movie. It just keeps you engaged and entertained and also gives you very beautiful messages.'

Asked about planned documentaries, she said some of the content would cover 'my own journey' as well as 'the incredible girls that I meet'. 

But she added: 'I'm still at the stage where I'm exploring ideas. I can tell you that there are so many incredible ideas and it's so difficult to pick and choose one.' 

Apple produced a documentary about Malala in 2015 and teamed up with her Malala Fund in 2018 to promote secondary education to girls across the globe. 

'I hope that through this partnership, I will be able to bring new voices to this platform, to this stage,' Malala said. 

'I hope that through me, more young people and girls will watch these shows, get inspired.' 

 


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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