Miranda Richardson, Anna Chancellor lead cast of BBC One adaptation Mapp And Lucia

Steve Pemberton’s adaption of EF Benson’s story attracts all-star cast

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Two-time Academy award-nominee Miranda Richardson (Belle, Parade’s End) and Anna Chancellor (The Hour, Four Weddings And A Funeral) have been cast to play the lead roles in Steve Pemberton’s 3-part adaptation of EF Benson’s comic socialite drama Mapp And Lucia.

Set in Tilling, Sussex in the summer of 1930, the story focuses on the social rivalries, snobberies and pretensions of small-town life between Miss Elizabeth Mapp and Mrs Emmeline Lucas, known to her friends as Lucia. When Lucia decides to take a holiday in the charming historic town, a battle for social supremely ensues.

Miranda Richardson says: “I am so looking forward to a summer of hard work and I hope, great fun, working with the ensemble on Steve’s masterly adaptation of EF Benson’s delicious confection. I cannot wait to get my teeth into Mapp… and of course, Lucia!”

Anna Chancellor says:”I am thrilled to be playing the glorious Lucia. I hope I can do justice to EF Benson’s wonderful creations.”

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Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, The Crimson Petal And The White) will play Raj Army veteran Major Benjy and Steve Pemberton (Inside No 9, Psychoville) stars as Lucia’s devoted acolyte and dapper chief courtier, Georgie Pillson.

Mark Gatiss says: “EF Benson’s tales of life in Tilling are some of the most sly, funny and waspishly brilliant stories in the language. It’s an absolute treat to be joining my old friend Steve and such a glorious cast to bring them to life. Quai hai!”

Steve Pemberton says: “It’s a dream come true to be playing the delightful Georgie Pillson in Rye this summer, and I’m doubly excited to be joined by Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor. Both have proved themselves to be equally brilliant comic and dramatic actresses, and the thought of them going into battle as Mapp and Lucia is mouthwatering. The Channel 4 adaptation from the 1980s is what brought me to the books and I very much hope this new version will have a similar effect, turning a whole new readership on to EF Benson’s bitingly funny novels.”

The cast also includes Felicity Montagu (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Alan Partridge) as Godiva ‘Diva’ Plaistow, Gemma Whelan (Game Of Thrones, The Wolfman) who will play Quaint Irene Coles the Disgrace of Tilling (and her sex), Paul Ritter (The Game, Quantum Of Solace) joins as Reverend Kenneth Bartlett (Padre) and Katy Brand (Nanny McPhee Returns, Mongrels) as Hermione Pillson.

Together with Poppy Miller (The Commander) as Evie Bartlett, Nick Woodeson (Skyfall, The Honourable Woman) as Algernon Wyse and Pippa Haywood (The Brittas Empire, Tamara Drewe) as his wife Susan Wyse, with Frances Barber (Silk) playing the vivacious and good-humoured Amelia, Contessa di Faraglione.

A BBC Drama Production for BBC One, Mapp And Lucia is directed by Diarmuid Lawrence (Quirke: The Silver Swan, The Lady Vanishes). It is produced by Susie Liggat (The Tractate Middoth, The Café) and the executive producer is Lisa Osborne (Quirke, The Mystery Of Edwin Drood).

Mapp and Lucia begins filming in Rye, Sussex this summer, which was Benson’s home between wars and his template for Mapp And Lucia’s battleground.