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LONDON — Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Colman will topline an adaptation of Diane Setterfield’s novel The Thirteenth Tale commissioned by the BBC.
The 90-minute standalone drama, adapted for the screen by Oscar-winner Christopher Hampton (Atonement), will be directed by James Kent (Inside Men) and air on the public broadcaster’s BBC Two.
Billed as a haunting psychological mystery set in the modern day, with poignant flashbacks starting in 1940, the script details the story of a young female biographer who sets out to interview a legendary writer whose health is fading and who has, until now, refused to divulge the dark secrets of her past.
The show is produced by Harry Potter tsar David Heyman and his mother Norma Heyman, whose own extensive credits include Dangerous Liaisons, a film she produced from a Hampton script in 1988, which starred Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer.
The Thirteenth Tale has been commissioned by BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow and Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC drama commissioning.
Stephenson described the commissioned piece as “yet another treat for the audience later this year.”
Hampton added: “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.”
Heyman said partnering with his mother to produce the show is special, describing her as an “inspiration throughout my life.”
Filming is scheduled to begin in June and The Thirteenth Tale is due to air on BBC Two later this year.
Executive producing are Polly Hill for the BBC and Rosie Alison for Heyday Films.
Colman is one of the hottest actresses having won a slew of awards this year for her TV and film work including a brace at this year’s BAFTA TV awards.
Redgrave is part of a family acting dynasty and won a best supporting actress Oscar in 1978 for her turn in Julia.
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