Thursday, April 11, 2024

More Reasons to Flip on the TV

All hail The Killing Times, the British blog that today brings us three terrific batches of news about near-future TV productions.

It was more than a year ago now that we brought you word of streaming service Disney+ greenlighting a series based on C.J. Sansom’s popular novels starring Matthew Shardlake, a barrister who solves crimes and seeks to avoid political intrigues in 16th-century Britain. Today we learned that the four-part drama Shardlake, based on Sansom’s first novel, Dissolution (2003), will debut on May 1.

The program casts Arthur Hughes (from The Innocents and Then Barbara Met Alan) as Shardlake, a hunchback lawyer protagonist “with an acute sense of justice and one of the few honest men in a world beset with scheming and plots.” Sean Bean (World on Fire, Snowpiercer) will play Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to King Henry VIII and Shardlake’s employer, while Anthony Boyle (The Plot Against America, Masters of the Air) appears as Jack Barak, who assists Shardlake ... but may also be spying on him for Cromwell.

Here’s The Killing Times’ synopsis of the show’s plot:
Shardlake’s sheltered life as a lawyer is turned upside down when Cromwell instructs him to investigate the murder of one of his commissioners at a monastery in the remote [and fictitious] town of Scarnsea. The commissioner was gathering evidence to close the monastery and it is now imperative for Cromwell’s own political survival that Shardlake both solves the murder and closes the monastery. He leaves Shardlake in no doubt that failure is not an option.

Cromwell insists that he is accompanied by Jack Barak to Scarnsea, where the duo are met with hostility, suspicion and paranoia by the monks who fear for their future and will seemingly stop at nothing to preserve their order.
Here’s a 90-second trailer for Shardlake:

The Killing Times also reports that two more series of The Night Manager, which premiered in 2016 and was adapted from John le Carré’s 1993 novel of the same title, have been commissioned by BBC One. Tom Hiddleston will return to his role as Jonathan Pine, a former British soldier turned hotel night manager who, in the original tale, became involved with illegal arm sales. Adds Deadline: “The Night Manager Season 2 will begin filming later this year and will pick up with Hiddleston’s Jonathan Pine eight years after the explosive finale of Season 1, going beyond the original book ... Additional plot details are being kept under wraps and there is not yet confirmation as to whether [executive producer Hugh] Laurie’s Richard Roper, who was last seen in the back of a paddy wagon driven by arms buyers who were not best pleased with him, will return to star.”

Finally, we have further details about a second Death in Paradise spin-off, Return to Paradise. This show will be set in Sydney, Australia, and feature Anna Samson (Jack Irish, Home and Away) as tenacious Detective Inspector Mackenzie Clarke, “an Australian ex-pat who’s made a name for herself in London’s Metropolitan Police for cracking uncrackable murder cases. When she is accused of tampering with evidence, Clarke returns to Australia, back to the last place she ever wanted to be—her hometown of Dolphin Cove. Having fled the town six years ago, infamously leaving her ex-fiancé Glenn [Tai Hara, also from Home and Away] at the altar, Clarke is not welcome there. But with no other job options, and a unique talent for solving a mystery, no matter how challenging, a reluctant ‘Mack’ joins the team at Dolphin Cove Police Station.” We’ll see whether she settles into her new situation as comfortably as DI Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) did in the previous Death in Paradise offshoot, Beyond Paradise, fresh episodes of which are currently rolling out in the States on BritBox.

Frustratingly, launch dates for Return to Paradise and the sophomore season of The Night Manager have not yet been announced.

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