David Tennant (Fright Night, Doctor Who, Hamlet, Casanova) and Janet Montgomery (Black Swan, Merlin) have been cast in Alan Furst’s celebrated novel, The Spies Of Warsaw, adapted by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.
A thrilling spy story set in Poland, Paris, London & Berlin in the years leading up to the Second World War. French and German intelligence operatives are locked in a life-and-death struggle on the espionage battlefield.
At the French embassy, the new military attaché, Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier (Tennant), a decorated war hero of the 1914 war, is drawn into a world of abduction, betrayal and intrigue in the diplomatic salons and back alleys of Warsaw.
At the same time, the handsome aristocrat finds himself in a passionate love affair with Anna (Montgomery), a Parisian lawyer for the League of Nations. Their complicated love affair intensifies as German tanks drive through the Black Forest.
Two 90-minute film adaptations of one of Furst’s most acclaimed novels will bring to BBC Four a combination of historically located, intelligent narratives, interlaced with flawed, romantic and utterly compelling characters.
Richard Klein, Controller of BBC Four, says: “Spies Of Warsaw is Alan Furst at his best - a tense, passionate and sexy love story set against the increasingly strident clang of coming war.
"I think David Tennant playing Mercier and Janet Montgomery as Anna is such an exciting way to explore Furst's hugely convincing central characters, and I am delighted that Ian and Dick have produced such an enthralling script.
"Spies Of Warsaw is an entertaining, thrilling and insightful drama with a very different take on the Second World War, seen through the eyes of characters who know from the start that they and their fellow countrymen will face the brunt of the horrors to come: this is top class drama, and perfect for BBC Four.”
Richard Fell, Executive Producer and Head of Drama, Fresh Pictures, adds: “We are thrilled and delighted that David and Janet are going to be in Spies Of Warsaw. They are both actors of such great range and quality they will light up the screen as the star crossed lovers Jean Francois and Anna. As Europe is dragged into the nightmare that will be the Second World War, their illicit love affair gets ever more complicated, and the chemistry between these two extraordinary actors becomes irresistible.”
Spanning the decade from 1933 to 1943, as the Germans slowly consolidate their political stranglehold on Europe, Furst’s stories are portraits of subjugated peoples who try to resist the suffocating inevitability of Hitler’s regime. They show the potency and importance of espionage and pure intelligence in the run up to the war.
Joining Tennant in the role of Mercier and Montgomery in the role of Anna is an impressive supporting cast including: Ludger Pistor (Casino Royale) as Edvard Uhl, Ann Eleonora Jørgensen (The Killing) as Olga Musser, Jan Pohl (Captain America: The First Avenger) as Zoller, Rad Kaim (Harry Brown) as August Voss, Piotr Baumann (The Street) as Maxim Mostov, Burn Gorman (The Dark Knight Rises) as Jourdain, Ellie Haddington (Creation) as Mme Dupin, Alan Corduner (Gladiator) as Viktor Rosen, Linda Bassett (The Hours) as Malka Rosen, Anton Lesser (The Hour) as Doctor Lapp, Richard Lintern (White Heat) as Colonel Lessard, Richard Teverson (Upstairs Downstairs) as Roddy Fitzware, Nicholas Blane (The Tudors) as Papa Heininger, Adam Godley (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory) as Halbach, Kenneth Collard (Albert Nobbs) as Johannes Elter, Dan Fredenburgh (The Bourne Ultimatum) as Armand, Tuppence Middleton (New Tricks) as Gabrielle, Tusse Silberg (Drop The Dead Donkey) as Helena and Julian Harries (EastEnders) as Duff Cooper.
Shooting of the drama will begin next month on location in Poland. Commissioned by Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning.
This is a Fresh Pictures production, executive produced by Richard Fell for Fresh Pictures and Jamie Laurenson for the BBC, co-produced by Apple Film for TV Poland in association with ARTE FRANCE and BBC Worldwide.
Notes to Editors
The adaptors of the novel, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, have an impressive array of both film and television credits to their names. These include: The Likely Lads, Porridge, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, The Rotters’ Club, Archangel, The Commitments, The Bank Job, Goal! and Flushed Away. The scripts are full of the tension, moodiness, intrigue, love and lust of a continent just about to fall into chaos.
I think David Tennant playing Mercier and Janet Montgomery as Anna is such an exciting way to explore Furst's hugely convincing central characters, and I am delighted that Ian and Dick have produced such an enthralling script."