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24 September 2014
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A case of murder, greed and corruption for commander Adam Dalgliesh, as Martin Shaw stars in PD James' Death in Holy Orders for BBC ONE

A killer in the sacred portals of an esteemed theological college provides the backdrop to a challenging case for Commander Adam Dalgliesh, as Martin Shaw takes on the role of the top detective in PD James' Death in Holy Orders for BBC ONE.

The two-part drama, encompassing questions of faith and the politics of an institution resistant to change, features an impressive supporting cast.

Robert Hardy, star of The Lost World, All Creatures Great and Small and soon to feature as Cornelius Fudge in the latest Harry Potter film, plays Father Martin, an old friend of Dalgliesh.

The Olivier award-winning actress Janie Dee is Emma Lavenham, the glamorous tutor who arouses Dalgliesh's attention… and not only as a potential murder suspect.

Alan Howard, one of the UK's most celebrated theatre actors, makes a rare television appearance as the querulous Father Sebastian Morell.

Jeff Rawle, star of Drop The Dead Donkey and I Saw You, plays the pernickety Father Peregrine, and Jesse Spencer (Neighbours and Lorna Doone) is the handsome young ordinand Raphael.

Martin Shaw, whose recent major television successes include Judge John Deed and A&E, is Adam Dalgliesh, the intense, introspective and thoroughly traditional commanding officer, who is sent to investigate a death at St Anselm's, the theological college where he spent a memorable summer as a child.

For generations, the Church of England has trained its chosen few in the hallowed cloisters of St Anselm's. But now this isolated, windswept outpost on the Suffolk cliffs is under threat. Its elitism and archaic practices find no favour in the modern age.

When one of the young ordinands dies in mysterious circumstances, his industrialist father is convinced the college authorities have glossed over the truth to avoid a catastrophic scandal which would result in the closure of the college.

Groping towards the truth in the cloistered, claustrophobic atmosphere of the college, Commander Adam Dalgliesh uncovers a murderous evil at work beneath the saintly veneer.

Jane Tranter, Controller of Drama Commissioning, says: "PD James is one of the UK's foremost crime writers, and we are delighted to be able to bring her superb detective to the BBC. Martin Shaw brings a modernity, freshness and emotional force to Dalgliesh."

Death In Holy Orders has been adapted for the screen by Robert Jones and will be transmitted next year.

It is produced by Margaret Enefer (Perfect, Life Support) and directed by Jonny Campbell (Judge John Deed).

The eight week filming schedule will cover a number of locations, including Colchester, Suffolk and Norfolk.



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