Billie Piper and Julie Walters head
all-star cast in
Philip Pullman's The
Ruby In The Smoke - BBC One, Wednesday 27 December 2006, 8.30pm
Billie Piper returns to our screens in her first lead role and first period drama to star as Sally Lockhart in the BBC's adaptation of multi award-winning writer Philip Pullman's The Ruby In The Smoke, adapted for television by Adrian Hodges.
Oscar-nominated Julie Walters takes on the role of the charismatic and deadly Mrs Holland, a woman determined to mastermind Sally's demise.
JJ Feild, Matt Smith, Robert Glenister, David Harewood, Hayley Atwell, Miles Anderson, Ramon Tikaram and Don Gilet also star.
The Ruby In The Smoke is the first book in Pullman's exhilarating quartet and charts the adventures of Sally Lockhart (Piper), a feisty young Victorian heroine.
Armed with a pistol, a thorough grounding in the principles of military tactics and a working knowledge of Hindustani she embarks on a journey to discover the truth behind her father's death, and unravel why his colleague died of fear after she utters the three little words: "The Seven Blessings".
Adapted by Bafta-winning writer Adrian Hodges (Charles II, Rome, The Lost World), The Ruby In The Smoke is a gripping tale of mystery, danger, puzzling letters and a blood-soaked jewel.
The film is set in the heart of Victorian London.
Producer Kate Bartlett says: "I am thrilled that we were able to attract such a talented, dynamic and popular cast to this production.
"It is a real credit to Philip Pullman, who is without question one of Britain's leading and brilliant novelists; and to Adrian Hodges, for his superb adaptation of this exciting action adventure.
"This is an enthralling drama that will appeal to both adults and children alike."
Executive Producer Sally Woodward Gentle says: "I am delighted that we have the opportunity to bring Philip Pullman's extraordinary novels to a television audience.
"The commissioning of The Ruby In The Smoke is a further example of BBC One's commitment to offer more inspiring and varied drama which appeal to a wide ranging audience."
The Ruby In The Smoke is directed by the highly-acclaimed Brian Percival (Bafta winner for Much Ado About Nothing, North & South, Clocking Off).
The Executive Producer is Sally Woodward Gentle and the Producer is Kate Bartlett (North and South, Canterbury Tales).
The Ruby In The Smoke will be followed by the second novel The Shadow In The North, which will transmit later in 2007.