Martin Clunes to star in ITV Sir Arthur Conan Doyle drama, Arthur & George

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle biopic for ITV

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Martin Clunes is to star in a new three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’s novel, Arthur & George, based on the life of Sherlock Holmes creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Set in Staffordshire, Hampshire and London in 1903 with the backdrop of Conan Doyle’s family home, Undershaw, Sir Arthur (Clunes), following the death of his wife, Louisa, attempts to combat his grief by joining forces with his trusted manservant, Alfred ‘Woody’ Wood to pursue and challeng a notorious miscarriage of justice, the case of George Edalji, a hard-working solicitor and the son of Hampshire vicar, Reverend Shapurji Edalji and his wife Charlotte.  

George has served seven years in Pentonville Prison for allegedly mutilating animals and sending threatening letters, a series of offences which have become known as The Great Wyrley Rippings.  

On learning of George’s plight and glimpsing the headlines concerning the Great Wyrley Rippings, Conan Doyle urges Woody to arrange a meeting with George, who now at 27 is in “a state of limbo” and struggling to return to his career as “until the taint is washed from his name.”

Arthur & George also features Conan Doyle’s relationship with Jean Leckie, a much younger woman, with whom he enjoyed a ‘platonic’ relationship whilst his wife was alive.  Jean eventually became his second wife.

ITV’s Director of Drama, Steve November said: “Arthur & George explores what we think we know about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life.  It’s a fascinating insight into the man who was to become one of the most famous of his age. We’re delighted to be working with Martin and the production team at Buffalo Pictures on such a clever and complex adaptation of Julian Barnes’s acclaimed novel.”

Arthur and George will be written by Ed Whitmore (Silent Witness, Waking The Dead) and made by Buffalo Pictures for ITV.

Production begins in the autumn of 2014 and will be filmed in Greater London and Staffordshire.