Cast of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell announced as filming commences.
Eddie Marsan (Best Of Men, Ray Donovan, Filth) and Bertie Carvel (Restless, Hidden, Matilda) have been cast in the lead roles of the new BBC One adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
The seven-part, magical drama series is based on the bestselling novel by Susanna Clarke and adapted by Peter Harness (Wallander, Is Anybody There?).
Further casting includes Alice Englert (Ginger & Rosa, Beautiful Creatures), Marc Warren (Hustle, Mad Dogs), Samuel West (Mr Selfridge, Fleming), Charlotte Riley (Wuthering Heights, Easy Virtue), Enzo Cilenti (Prisoners Wives, Rome) and Paul Kaye (Game Of Thrones, Stella).
Set at the beginning of the 19th-century, England no longer believes in practical magic. The reclusive Mr Norrell (Marsan) of Hurtfew Abbey stuns the city of York when he causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and move. With a little persuasion and help from his man of business Childermass (Cilenti), he goes to London to help the government in the war against Napoleon. It is there Norrell summons a fairy to bring Lady Pole (Englert) back from the dead, opening a whole can of worms…
Eddie Marsan, playing Mr Norrell, says: “I can’t wait to start playing Norrell in this terrific adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s novel, and to be working with such a cast of actors, many of whom I’ve admired for so long.”
Jonathan Strange (Carvel) is charming, rich and arrogant. Whilst trying to secure his beloved Arabella’s (Riley) hand in marriage, he meets the magician of Threadneedle Street, Vinculus (Kaye), who tells him he is destined to be a great magician. A shaken and disturbed Strange initially dismisses the claims, but intrigue overcomes and in an attempt to find his occupation, he tries to practise magic.
Bertie Carvel, playing Jonathan Strange, says: “I read the book some years ago and was totally enchanted. I’ve been casting spells for the part of Strange ever since. It is a considerable surprise to find that some of them worked!”
Nick Marston, CEO of Cuba Pictures, says: “It has been a passion of ours for almost a decade to bring Susanna Clarke’s extraordinary novel to the screen. Now, thanks to the great support of the BBC, it is actually happening. Peter Harness has written a first-rate adaptation and Toby Haynes is ready to weave his magic from the director’s chair. There is a huge ambition from the whole team to do justice to Susanna’s work and to bring the book to a brand new audience.”
Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “We have secured the most original, talented and dynamic cast and team to produce BBC One’s brand new adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s award-winning novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. This cements our reputation for bold and ambitious drama and I can’t wait to see Bertie and Eddie bring these wonderful characters to life in a unique and exciting way.”
The drama is a co-production between Cuba Pictures (Boy A, Broken) for BBC One and BBC America in association with Feel Films, Far Moor, Screen Yorkshire and Bell Media’s Space.
The series is directed by Toby Haynes (The Musketeers, Doctor Who) and the producer is Nick Hirschkorn (Five Children And It). Executive producers are Nick Marston, Tally Garner and Dixie Linder for Cuba Pictures, Justin Thomson-Glover and Patrick Irwin for Far Moor, and Matthew Read for the BBC.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell begins filming in Yorkshire, Canada and Croatia from next week.