Timothy Spall to star as detective in Anthony Horowitz murder mystery

Magpie Murders follows the death of an author and the puzzle of an unfinished manuscript.

Timothy Spall has been cast alongside Lesley Manville in BritBox’s crime thriller Magpie Murders.

The veteran actor, whose roles include Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter series and painter JMW Turner in Mr Turner, will star as “clever and complex” detective Atticus Pund in the small-screen adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’s novel.

Pund is the creation of fictional best-selling mystery writer Alan Conway and the plot revolves around the character of Susan Ryeland, played by Manville, an editor who is given an unfinished Conway manuscript after he dies in suspicious circumstances.

In the novel, Ryeland goes in search of the book’s missing chapters and discovers it may have been based on true events, causing someone to murder Conway.

Production on the show, helmed by director Peter Cattaneo and produced by Eleventh Hour Films, begins next week in Suffolk and Ireland.

It will premiere in 2022 on BritBox in the UK.

Bafta nominee Spall, 64, said: “I am delighted to be part of this adaptation of Magpie Murders, and to be working once again with the immensely talented Lesley Manville, Peter Cattaneo, the fantastic cast and all the team at Eleventh Hour Films.

The Olivier Awards 2018 – London
Lesley Manville (Isabel Infantes/PA)

“I have huge respect for Anthony Horowitz and think the audience will really enjoy his brilliant adaptation of his wonderful and ingenious novel.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to grips with bringing the intriguing Atticus Pund to life.”

Horowitz, author and screenwriter of Magpie Murders, said: “I was overjoyed when I heard that Timothy Spall had accepted the part of Atticus Pund.

“I’m a lifelong fan and there isn’t another actor in the world I would have chosen for this pivotal role.”

Will Harrison, managing director of BritBox UK, said: “Timothy Spall is a British acting icon and the perfect choice to play Atticus Pund.

“We’re so pleased to see production get under way, and can’t wait to share Magpie Murders with our subscribers.”

Further casting will be announced later.

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