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Strong female cast leads BBC Two adaptation of bestselling novel The Thirteenth Tale.


Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Colman are to star in, The Thirteenth Tale, a new 90-minute single drama adaption from Heyday Films for BBC Two.

Adapted from Diane Setterfield’s best–selling novel, and written by Oscar winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton (Atonement, Dangerous Liaisons), The Thirteenth Tale is a haunting psychological mystery set in the modern day, with poignant flashbacks starting in 1940.

The disturbing story begins when a young female biographer, Margaret (Colman), sets out to interview a legendary writer whose health is fading. Vida Winter (Redgrave) has, until now, refused to divulge the dark secrets of her life and past at Angelfield, her childhood home. An unlikely shared empathy is cultivated between the two women, and Vida’s story forces Margaret to finally confront her own ghosts.

Ben Stephenson says: “Building on our record-breaking BAFTA success and BBC Two’s reputation for world-class drama, The Thirteenth Tale is yet another treat for the audience later this year. Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Colman, along with the award-winning team behind the drama, illustrate BBC drama at its best – attracting the highest calibre of talent and making the most ambitious content possible.”

Christopher Hampton adds: “I was delighted to take on Ms Setterfield’s ingenious mystery. It’s been a great pleasure re-engaging with the brave new world of 21st-century television drama: I may have to come back for more.”

Producer David Heyman says: “I am delighted and honoured that Ben Stephenson and Janice Hadlow have commissioned this film for BBC Two, and to be working with such extraordinary talent on both sides of the camera. And of course to be partnering with my mother, who has been such an inspiration throughout my life, is particularly special.”

The drama is directed by James Kent (Inside Men, The White Queen), David Heyman (Harry Potter, Page Eight) and Norma Heyman (Mrs Henderson Presents, Dangerous Liaisons) will co-produce. Executive producer is Polly Hill for the BBC and Rosie Alison for Heyday Films.

Filming of, The Thirteenth Tale is scheduled to begin in June and will be shown on BBC Two later this year.

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