Max Irons-Sam NeillMax Irons (The White Queen) and Sam Neill (Alcatraz) have been set as the two leads in ITV’s four-part miniseries Tutankhamun from sister company ITV Studios and Jekyll & Hyde scribe Guy Jenkinss, TVWise has learned.
Max Irons will play lead character Howard Carter, the archaeologist who unearthed the tomb of the tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun in the 1920s; while Jurassic Park actor Sam Neill has been cast as the dashing and eccentric Lord Carnarvon who keeps faith with Carter and continues to back his expeditions when no one else will.
Tutankhamun opens in 1905 when Carter, in his early-20s, is fervently leading an expedition. He has an easy manner with the Egyptian men who work alongside him, but when tempers fray Carter is hot-headed and puts the dig and his career in jeopardy. With his license to dig revoked, Carter spends years ostracised, dishevelled and living rough. A chance meeting with British aristocrat Lord Carnarvon brings a change of fortunes. After years of searching for the tomb, Carter and Carnarvon successfully discover the last resting place of the boy-king in 1921 against all odds and at great personal expense.
Speaking at the time the miniseries was commissioned, ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November said: “Tutankhamun is a story of epic proportions. Against the backdrop of World War One, conflict, murder, corruption, romance and the unlikeliest of friendships, Tutankhamun sees Howard Carter’s determination pay off in spectacular style when he discovers one of the greatest archaeological treasures of the modern world”.
The four-part event series is being penned by Jekyll & Hyde and The Bletchley Circle scribe Guy Jenkins and is set up at ITV Studios. The Body Farm’s Simon Lewis is serving as the series producer, while Hannibal Rising Peter Webber is attached to direct. The executive producers are Francis Hopkinson and Catherine Oldfield. Casting for the remaining main roles is presently underway, with production set to commence in South Africa next month for a 2016 premiere. ITV Studios Global Entertainment is handling international sales.
This lovely art work is not mine. I found it somewhere on the internet. Would the artist please contact me so that I can acknowledge his/her work?
It took me several days to find the time to pay a visit to Mr Hale. The new machines I ordered from Leeds had finally arrived, and I had to supervise their installation in the mill’s main shed. Finally, on a windy morning mid-September, I went to Crampton to seek out my new teacher.
The house was located at the corner of Canute Street and a narrow alley, which gave the impression it was at the bottom of a dead end. The street was, however, very lively, with people praising their wares, and lots of small children playing. I stepped lively up the few stairs and knocked on the front door.
A very stout maid with a forbidding expression on her round face opened the door yet made no show of letting me step inside. I produced my card. “Good day to you. Mr Thornton wishes to speak to Mr Hale.”
The maid took it, glanced at it, and then stepped aside to show me to a parlour on the right. She ostentatiously closed the door behind me, so I went to stand before one of the small windows, where I had a view of the busy street below.
While I was waiting, I could hear the house creak above my head, as if the maid was going from room to room to search for her master. I glanced around the somewhat shabby room. It was small with only two windows and one door. A large book case occupied one wall, a small fireplace another. In the centre stood a table almost large enough to dwarf the room even more. The whole surface of the table was laden with books. Books were everywhere, I realised. They were stacked on the floor near the walls, they covered the mantelpiece and every chair, and even the window sills.
I was bewildered and wondered why on earth one ex-parson would want to have that many books. Then my thoughts were interrupted when the door opened to let Mr Hale in. He was a tall man, sturdily built though not rotund. He had curly hair of a non-descript brown, which had begun receding, and a pair of friendly, grey eyes. He wore his whiskers so long that they almost brushed the sides of his mouth.
“Mr Thornton?” he boomed in a voice that he must have used in his church sermons during his days as a parson. “Welcome, sir! My friend Bell told me a lot about you, and I am very pleased to meet you!”
I struggled to keep a congenial countenance, as I felt anger at Mr Bell, all of a sudden. What had he been divulging of my affairs to this virtual stranger? Mr Bell was good with words, I knew that all too well. It would not be unlike him to overhear business talk that he could use to his advantage.
“Good day to you, sir,” I said, extending my hand. Mr Hale glanced at it in mild surprise but eventually took it and shook it firmly.
“Mr Hale,” I continued, reassured by his handshake, “I have a fervent wish to broaden my education through reading and discussing literature. My time is limited, though. You might know I am a cotton manufacturer, and the running of my mill claims most of my day. However, I might find some hours during the evening to devote myself to studying.”
“Splendid! Splendid!” Mr Hale exclaimed. Then he slapped me on the back and said, “Sit down, my good man, sit down!” With swift movements, he cleared two chairs and dragged them to the table. We sat but after two seconds, Mr Hale jumped up and strode towards the book case, where he began rummaging through the books.
I was once again bewildered. He was completely different from what I had come to think of a teacher, with only my limited school days as a reference. Soon, however, Mr Hale returned to the table with two, rather shabby books. Both leather covers were dusty, I noticed.
“Now then, John … I hope I can call you by your first name? I call all my students by their first names, you know.”
I had barely time to nod when he continued,” Now then, John, you must tell me what you have previously had in the way of education. I had barely time to nod when he continued,” Now then, John, you must tell me what you have previously had in the way of an education. I understand – from Mr Bell, of course – that you have not finished your grammar school?”
“No, indeed not, sir. At sixteen, I was forced to work, but I went to Lancaster grammar School until then.”
“Ah, so you had Latin and Greek?”
“Yes, sir, although my knowledge is very basic.”
“No matter, no matter,” Mr Hale replied, folding his hands while placing his elbows on the table. “We will soon pick up where you left. Now, in my opinion, it is best we start with either Plato or Aristotle. Which one do you prefer, John?”
Again he caught me completely off guard, or was it the sound of the front door opening that disturbed my thought, I do not know. Mr Hale, however, had not heard. He pressed me on, “We have to make a choice, John. Now it’s difficult, I know.”
Suddenly, his gaze darted to the half open door and he exclaimed, “Margaret, is that you?”
It was enough to startle me and make me stand. Of course, you fool, I scolded myself, could you not have guessed you would meet her again? I hastily went to the window, my back to the door, conscious that my torment was back again.
“Margaret, is that you? Well, Margaret! Come in, Margaret. Come in. Meet my new friend and, erm, first proper pupil, Mr. Thornton. This is my daughter, Margaret.“
I took a deep breath and turned. There she was, the bane of my life, and the delight of my heart. Her hair, a deep dark brown, was dishevelled because she had just removed her hat, but it was so becoming that I longed to touch it and straighten the tumbled locks. In her lovely, heart-shaped face, her eyes, which I now noticed for the first time, were a deep blue, her nose tiny and pert, and her mouth lush and deeply red. The sight of her made my stomach summersault, and I had to fight hard to keep my own countenance undisturbed. When I finally spoke, I was glad to hear that my voice was steady. “I believe your daughter and I have already met.”
“Ah … “ Mr Hale said, oblivious to the tension between me and his daughter, “now, Mr. Thornton cannot decide between Aristotle and Plato. I suggest we start with Plato, and then move on. What do you think?”
I gave him a swift but stunned glance, confused as I was because of his lack of comprehension, and forged on, “I’m afraid Miss Hale and I met under less than pleasant circumstances. I had to dismiss a worker for smoking in the sorting room.”
Miss Hale all but burst out in speech, “I saw you beat a defenceless man who is not your equal!”
The raw aggression in her words finally sunk in with her father. He exclaimed in shock, “Margaret!”
I could not help coming to her defence. “No, she’s right.” And after a pause to regain my composure, “I was angry. I have a temper. Fire is the greatest danger in my mill. I have to be strict.”
If I had hoped to win her over by explaining my perfectly sane reasons, I was totally wrong. She turned away in disgust, saying, “A gentleman would not use his fists on such a … pathetic creature, or shout at children.”
I must have heard wrongly, I thought. A gentleman? What had that to do with what was been said about my mill? Devil take it, but she was taunting me to no end!
My voice raised, I nearly shouted, “I dare say a gentleman has not had to see three-hundred corpses laid out on a Yorkshire hillside as I did last May. And many of them were children. And that was an accidental flame. The whole mill destroyed in 20 minutes.”
All she did was glance sideways at me, yet something of what I had said, had touched her, I could see. It was obvious she had not foreseen the huge risk and had spoken out of turn on the subject. She offered no apology, however.
I sighed. “I should go,” I said to Mr Hale, and we shook hands. “You’ll join us for dinner next week?”
“Oh, yes, of course,” he replied. “Erm … thank you. Erm …we’ll start with Plato next Tuesday.”
Just then, as I was accompanied to the door, I recalled something my mother had said. Something about her wanting to get acquainted with Mr Hale’s wife. “I will ask my mother to call … when you’re settled,” I quickly said, giving Miss Hale a parting look. I very well knew I must be frowning. She was so … well, headstrong and opinionated!
“Of course, erm … ,” Mr Hale ventured. “Now by all means. We’re always here. Aren’t we, Margaret?”
Miss Hale looked positively sullen and refused to answer as I took my leave.
Cider With Rosie is described as “an evocative coming-of-age story” and is set in a Cotswald village during and immediately after World War One. It tells the story of how a young Laurie Lee grew into a man, recounting his first love, loss and family upheaval. The drama stars Archie Cox, Samantha Morton, Jessica Hynes, June Whitfield, Annette Crosbie, Billy Howle, Ruby Ashbourne Serkis and Emma Curtis.
Based on the book of the same name by Laurie Lee, Cider With Rosie is one of four literary adaptations being produced for BBC One as part of the channel’s season on 20th century literature, with the other three being An Inspector Calls, The Go-Between and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The Origin Pictures produced adaptation was penned by Ben Vanstone and was directed by Philippa Lowthorpe. Helen Gregory is the producer, while Lucy Richer, David Thompson and Ed Rubin serve as executive producers.
Check out the trailer below:
Set in: 1120-1170
Directed by: Sergio Mimica-Gezzan
Writer(s): Ken Follett, John Pielmeier
Cast: Ian McShane, Matthew Macfadyen, Eddie Redmayne, Hayley Atwell, Rufus Sewell
Kingsbridge (fictional town, meant to be approximately where the present-day town of Marlborough (Wiltshire) is located), England
Synopsis by Jason BuchananIan McShane, Donald Sutherland, and Rufus Sewell headline this eight-part miniseries adapted from the best-selling novel by author Ken Follett. As England moves out of the Dark Ages, the tensions between ambitious mason Tom Builder (Sewell), Bishop Waleran Bigod (McShane), and the heirs of King Stephen (Toony Curran), King Henry (Clive Wood), and Queen Maud (Alison Pill) come to a head when Builder’s plan to construct an opulent cathedral threaten to trudge up some damning secrets that the royal families would rather remain buried.
Set during the Cold War, American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer finds himself caught between two superpowers and his own struggles as he challenges the Soviet Empire.
I was around and actually remember the world’s interest in Bobby Fischer. Personally, I can’t wait to see this, and I think Toby McGuire looks like a good candidate for the role.
Seeing release dates of Sept 16 and Sept 25. Watch for it if interested.