BBC One

Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse (Soon on BBC One)


The Pale Horse is the latest Agatha Christie story to be adapted for BBC One by Bafta-nominated writer Sarah Phelps, and features a stellar cast, it premieres soon on BBC One…

Rufus Sewell plays Mark Easterbrook. He is joined by Kaya Scodelario as Hermia, Bertie Carvel as Zachariah Osborne, Sean Pertwee as Detective Inspector Lejeune, Henry Lloyd-Hughes as David Ardingly, Poppy Gilbert as Thomasina Tuckerton, Madeleine Bowyer as Jessie Davis, and Ellen Robertson as Poppy.

Sarah says: “Written in 1961, against the backdrop of the Eichmann Trial, the escalation of the Cold War and Vietnam, The Pale Horse is a shivery, paranoid story about superstition, love gone wrong, guilt and grief. It’s about what we’re capable of when we’re desperate and what we believe when all the lights go out and we’re alone in the dark.”

The Pale Horse is a Mammoth Screen and Agatha Christie Limited drama for BBC One. The executive producers are Sarah Phelps, Damien Timmer and Helen Ziegler for Mammoth Screen, James Prichard and Basi Akpabio for Agatha Christie Limited and Tommy Bulfin for BBC.

What is The Pale Horse About

London, 1961. Mark Easterbrook (Rufus Sewell) has everything a man could dream of – he’s rich, successful and popular, with a beautiful new wife (Kaya Scodelario) and perfect home. But scratch beneath the surface and he’s still grief-stricken by the loss of his first wife Delphine (Georgina Campbell). When Mark’s name is discovered on a piece of paper in a dead woman’s shoe everything starts to fall apart for him.

Why did Jessie Davies (Madeleine Bowyer) die, why is Mark’s name on a piece of paper in her shoe, and who are the other names on the list? Detective Inspector Lejeune (Sean Pertwee) interviews Mark and mentions that the names Tuckerton and Ardingly were also on the list. Mark has a connection with Thomasina Tuckerton and David Ardingly – and Thomasina is also dead…

As Mark tries to work out why he is on the list and what it means, everything seems to lead back to the village of Much Deeping. His first wife, Delphine, visited the area on the day of her death. Much Deeping seems to be an idyllic English village, but it is also a place of old traditions and strange beliefs, a place of witches, curses and spells. Jessie’s employer Zachariah Osborne (Bertie Carvel) tells Mark that witchcraft played a part in Jessie’s death, which Mark angrily rejects. But then he is sent a mysterious corn dolly. As more people named on the list are found dead, Mark starts to fear for his own life and sanity.

Mark is consumed with paranoia, fearful that his life is at risk and that the perpetrator is someone known to him. Mark feels his own death treading on his heels, breathing down his neck. To make matters worse, Detective Inspector Lejeune seems to be increasingly suspicious of him, and Mark feels even more alone.

He’s determined to find a rational explanation because there has to be one – this is the 1960s not the Dark Ages. Past and present collide for Mark as his investigations uncover the ties between Delphine and the trio of ‘witches’ (Sheila Atim, Kathy Kiera Clarke, Rita Tushingham) at Much Deeping, putting his relationship with second wife Hermia under great strain.

Terrified, Mark becomes hell-bent on uncovering the nature of the witches’ powers and their work at The Pale Horse. With each passing day, each disquieting moment, each tormented, terrifying night, Osborne’s beliefs seem less fantastical and more plausible. Mark starts to believe in the craft, in the dark arts, in the witches’ peculiar skills. If they are truly as powerful as they seem, can they save him from his nightmares, before whoever wants him dead catches up with him? How far will he go to save himself?

The Pale Horse airing soon on BBC One.

BBC One

Vigil, tense new thriller for BBC One

From World Productions (the the makers of Line Of Duty and Bodyguard) comes Vigil (currently a working title at the moment), a six part thriller for BBC One that will star Suranne Jones, Martin Compston, Rose Leslie and Paterson Joseph.

The plot revolves around the mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler and a death on-board a Trident nuclear submarine bring the police into conflict with the Navy and British security services. DCI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) leads an investigation on land and at sea into a conspiracy that threatens the very heart of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Plotwise this sounds pretty similar to 1983 BBC drama Spyship.

Written and created by Bafta-nominated writer Tom Edge (Judy, The Crown, Strike) with episodes by Ed Macdonald (The End Of The F***ing World) and Chandni Lakhani (Dublin Murders). The fictional drama will be directed by Bafta-winner James Strong (Broadchurch, Vanity Fair, Liar) and Isabelle Sieb (Shetland, The Athena).

The series will star Suranne Jones (Gentleman Jack, Doctor Foster), Rose Leslie (Game Of Thrones, The Good Fight), Shaun Evans (Endeavour, Whitechapel), Anjli Mohindra (Bodyguard, Bancroft), Martin Compston (Line Of Duty, Mary Queen Of Scots), Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers, Peep Show), Connor Swindells (Sex Education, Jamestown), Adam James (Belgravia, Doctor Foster), and Gary Lewis (His Dark Materials, Billy Elliot).

Suranne Jones says: “Tom Edge has created a thrill of a story, set in a world I knew nothing about. The cast and crew World Productions have put together to tell this story is so exciting. Amy Silva is a brilliantly complex character, thrown into a highly charged situation where her authority is weakened. We watch as she navigates her own personal trauma and loss, all at a time when she’s questioning her relationships and life choices. It feels fresh and relevant and I can’t wait to start filming.”

Rose Leslie says: “I was weaned on BBC drama and it is thrilling to be back working at a place that feels like home with Tom Edge’s complex and gripping script. It will be a real honour to work with Suranne and I am looking forward to be filming back in Scotland.”

Writer Tom Edge adds: “I’m completely thrilled to be making this series with the talented people at World Productions and BBC Drama. The ‘Continuous At Sea Deterrent’, better known as ‘Trident’, has been a contentious part of national life for half a century now, a stock of nuclear missiles kept hundreds of feet below the sea surface. But this world has rarely been explored on screen. I can’t wait to take a BBC One audience down with us, into the pitch-black icy waters of the unseen Atlantic, where tomorrow’s geopolitical struggles are already being played out.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says, “Vigil is a fantastic, adrenalised thriller set in a shadowy world which has stakes for us all. We are delighted to be working again with World Productions and the exceptionally talented writer, Tom Edge to bring this exciting story to BBC One with an outstanding cast led by Suranne Jones.”

Simon Heath, CEO and Creative Director, World Productions says, “We’re thrilled that the first drama out of our Scottish office is such a timely and gripping idea, brilliantly executed by Tom Edge. We couldn’t ask for a stronger cast, led by the brilliant Suranne Jones and Rose Leslie.”

Vigil (w/t) will be executive produced by Simon Heath (Line Of Duty, Save Me, Bodyguard) for World Productions and Gaynor Holmes for the BBC and James Strong.

The 6×60’ fictional drama series will be set and filmed in Scotland and is supported by the National Lottery through Screen Scotland. International distribution will be handled by ITV Studios.

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