THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD NEW FOR BBC 2
September 4, 2011 | UK TV News
The Mystery of Edwin Drood was famously the novel Dicken’s was working on at the time of his death on 9 June 1870 – it remains unfinished but writers and film makers over the years have tried to put their own spin on the story. The BBC are the latest to have a bash with a new two parter for BBC2 now in production written by Gwyneth Hughes.
Drood is classic psychological thriller territory about a choir master who becomes obsessed with a young woman and will stop at nothing to get her. John Jasper (Matthew Rhys) is a troubled man, his psyche split between darkness and light. He has spent his life in the stifling and claustrophobic cathedral town of Cloisterham in a state of frustrated ambition and has become addicted to opium in an attempt to still his ennui and expand his horizons.
But the opium is fracturing Jasper’s mind so that even as his soul reaches for the sublime in his music, his darker self has conceived a murderous hatred of his nephew Edwin Drood (Freddie Fox) who, he believes, stands between him and the lovely Rosa (Tamzin Merchant). The stage is set for a story of mental and moral decline as we discover exactly how far Jasper will go to attain the object of his desire.
Writer Hughes says of the production “Who could resist the challenge of inventing an ending for Charles Dickens’ unfinished last work? The great entertainer left us only the first half of a dark hearted mystery tale, its impossibly young and vulnerable heroine pitted against one of the most creepy and chilling anti-heroes in English literature. The tragedy of the erotically obsessed cathedral choirmaster, John Jasper, throbs with sexual menace, murder and opium addiction. But alongside his story runs a brilliant small-town social comedy which is often laugh-out-loud funny. After all, this is Dickens, the great emotional extremist, and master of the rollercoaster ride. It’s just the most enormous fun.”
There is a fabulous all star cast involved too which besides Rhys, Fox and Merchant also includes Rory Kinnear, Alun Armstrong, Julia McKenzie, David Dawson, Ron Cook, Ellie Haddington, Alfie Davis and Ian McNeice.
The Mystery Of Edwin Drood, alongside Great Expectations on BBC 1 will form part of the BBC’s celebration of Dickens as we go into the bicentenary of his birth, in 2012.