As Tellyspotting landed in the UK Friday morning, there was a bit of ‘Joy in Mudville’ news already waiting for us to report on as ITV announced that Rowan Atkinson, the former star of Blackadder and Mr Bean, is making a return to television to play Belgian author Georges Simenon’s pipe-smoking policeman, Jules Maigret, in two new films for the channel. Atkinson will take on the role which originally made famous by the brilliant talents of Michael Gambon (Singing Detective, Harry Potter) back in the early 1990’s.
ITV’s Director of Television, Peter Fincham, confirmed Friday the commission of two stand-alone dramatic films featuring the legendary French fictional detective. With his iconic heavy coat and trademark pipe, the character of Jules Maigret first appeared in print in 1931. Georges Simenon, who wrote 75 Maigret novels, is considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, selling around a billion books worldwide to date. I know that sounds a bit like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers but it’s true.
Set in the 1950’s in Paris, “Maigret Sets A Trap” is adapted from the Simenon novel “Maigret tend un piège.” The second film “Maigret’s Dead Man” is based on “Maigret et son mort.”
On his role as the insightful detective, Jules Maigret, Rowan Atkinson said: “I have been a devourer of the Maigret novels for many years and I’m very much looking forward to playing such an intriguing character, at work in Paris during a fascinating period in its history“.
“Maigret Sets A Trap” and “Maigret’s Dead Man”, will go into production for ITV transmission in September 2015, produced by Ealing Studios and Maigret Productions Ltd. Maigret will be written by Stewart Harcourt (Love & Marriage, Treasure Island, Marple). Let’s hope there is a PBS broadcast somewhere in the 2016 timeframe!
If this is how the week is going to go, I can’t wait to report back on what the BBC has in store for telly watchers in the coming year.