Keeley Hawes (Upstairs Downstairs, Ashes To Ashes), Gemma Jones (Spooks, Bridget Jones’s Diary), Stephanie Cole (Coronation Street, Doc Martin) and Julian Rhind-Tutt (The Hour, Notting Hill) will star in this 90-minute psychological thriller for BBC One.
Selina Cadell takes on the role of the spirited Miss Froy (Doc Martin, Toast) with Tuppence Middleton (Spies Of Warsaw) as Iris and Tom Hughes (Cemetery Junction, Silk) as Max.
Adapted by Fiona Seres (The Silence, Tangle) from the novel The Wheel Spins - also filmed by Hitchcock as The Lady Vanishes - it will be directed by Diarmuid Lawrence (South Riding, Little Dorrit) and produced for the channel by BBC Drama Production.
It is 1931 - beautiful and wealthy young socialite Iris Carr (Middleton) is the heart of her social circle. Whilst holidaying with her friends in the Balkans their raucous behaviour escalates and Iris resolves to seek out some tranquillity and travel home alone.
Fiona Seres, writer, said: “I am very excited to have such a brilliant cast for the Lady Vanishes not just the key characters played by Tuppence Middleton and Tom Hughes but also a dynamic supporting cast that includes Danish actors Benedikte Hansen and Jesper Christensen.”
Iris’s expectations of peace are short lived when she faints on the platform of the railway station in the scorching heat. She wakes in time to be rushed on to the train but with a pounding head and a feeling of being almost in a dream.
Whilst in this malaise she is comforted by Miss Froy (Cadell), whose tweed suit and bookish looks belie a jovial and adventurous spirit. Miss Froy talks at length about her desperation to return home to her family; but when Iris falls asleep she awakes to find Miss Froy has vanished and her fellow passengers denying she ever existed.
Kate Harwood, Controller, Series and Serials, BBC Drama, commented: “Fiona’s adaptation of The Wheel Spins deftly weaves together the intriguing stories of a psychologically complex group of characters - with the mysterious disappearance of Miss Froy on a packed train - played out against the tense backdrop of the Balkans in the 1930s. I am delighted with the incredible cast and crew we have assembled for the project. The Lady Vanishes will be a thrilling treat for BBC One audiences this Christmas.”
With only the allegiance of handsome English traveller Max Hare (Hughes) for support, Iris maintains her conviction that Miss Froy has somehow been abducted.
As fellow passengers refute Iris’s story her conviction appears increasingly to be madness. Iris will have to rely on a strength of character she never knew she had to battle doubt and overcome danger as she strives to solve the mystery of why the lady vanished.
The outstanding cast also includes: Gemma Jones as Rose Flood-Porter, Stephanie Cole (Coronation Street, Doc Martin) as Evelyn Flood-Porter, Keeley Hawes as Mrs Todhunter, Julian Rhind-Tutt (The Hour, Notting Hill) as Mr Todhunter, Alex Jennings (Silk, Whitechapel) as the Professor, Sandy McDade (Jane Eyre, Lark Rise To Candleford) as Mrs Barnes, Pip Torrens (Silk, Pride and Prejudice) as Rev Barnes, Benedikte Hansen (Borgen) as the Baroness, Jesper Christensen (Melancholia) as the Doctor, Emerald Fennell (Any Human Heart) as Odette, Charles Aitken (Bonkers) as Charlie and Daisy Lewis (Doctor Who) as Diana.
The Lady Vanishes is a 1x90-minute film and will start filming on location in Budapest in August. Written by Fiona Seres, it will be produced by BBC Drama Productions.
Executive Producer for the BBC is Anne Pivcevic and the producer is Ann Tricklebank. It was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning and Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One.
BBC Drama Publicity