Imelda Staunton, Rupert Evans, Charles
Dance, Sally Hawkins and Elaine Cassidy
are to star in Peter Ransley's three-part adaptation of Sarah Waters'
Booker-nominated novel Fingersmith for BBC ONE.
Set in 19th century London, Fingersmith (the Victorian slang for pickpocket)
is the story of a con-man, Rivers (played by Rupert Evans), who embarks
on the most ambitious scam of his career.
Rivers' elaborate scheme is to defraud wealthy young heiress Maud Lilly
(Elaine Cassidy) by seducing her into eloping with him.
To achieve his aim, Rivers enlists the help of Sue (Sally Hawkins).
Brought up by Mrs Sucksby (Imelda Staunton) in a world of petty thievery
and charlatans, orphaned Sue is a 'fingersmith with a heart of gold'
and the promise of a share in Maud's fortune is enough to persuade Sue
to join in with Rivers' deception.
Fingersmith, made by Sally Head Productions, is currently being filmed
in and around London and will be shown next year on BBC ONE.
Sarah Waters' first novel, Tipping The Velvet, adapted in three parts
by Andrew Davies and also produced by Sally Head Productions, was shown
in 2002 on BBC TWO.
It received considerable critical success and achieved one of the
highest ratings for a drama on BBC TWO in recent years.
It starred Keeley Hawes, Rachael Stirling and Jodhi May and told the
story of Victorian music hall performer Nan Astley's search for love.
Gareth Neame, BBC's Head of Drama Commissioning, says: "We're thrilled
to be bringing Sarah Waters' Fingersmith to BBC ONE following the huge
success of Tipping The Velvet on BBC TWO.
"However Fingersmith is a very different kind of story, a brilliant
and original take on a Wilkie Collins-type Victorian classic, and Peter
Ransley's adaptation promises to be a special treat for the viewers."
The executive producers are Sally Head for Sally Head Productions and
Gareth Neame for the BBC.
The producer is Georgina Lowe and the director is Aisling Walsh (Song
For A Raggy Boy, Sinners, Trial And Retribution).
Fingersmith, which was nominated for the Booker Prize and the Orange
Prize in 2002, is Sarah Waters' third novel.
In January 2003, she was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British
She was the recipient of the South Bank Award for Literature 2003 and
was named Author of the Year at the 2003 British Book Awards.