Anthony Minghella and Richard Curtis collaborate for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
BBC Drama and The Weinstein Company today announce an exceptional and ambitious single film from Anthony Minghella and Richard Curtis by Mirage Enterprises for BBC One – The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.
The first BBC drama to be filmed entirely on location in Botswana, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency sees Academy Award-winning filmmaker Anthony Minghella (Cold Mountain) direct a script, adapted by Minghella and Academy Award nominee Richard Curtis (Love Actually, The Vicar Of Dibley), from a novel by best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is a charming story chronicling the adventures of Mma Ramotswe, portrayed by Grammy Award-winning singer Jill Scott as Mma Ramotswe.
Mma Ramotswe is the wise proprietor of the only female-owned detective agency in Botswana, who investigates cases, helps people solve problems in their lives, and falls in love with JLB Matekoni (Lucian Msamati), the highly respectable owner of a local garage.
The major international cast includes Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls) as Mma Ramotswe's secretary Mma Makutsi and Lucian Msamati who plays Mma Ramotswe's suitor JLB Matekoni.
They will be joined by David Oyelowo (Five Days), Idris Elba (28 Weeks Later), Colin Salmon (Die Another Day) and actor and comedian Desmond Dube (Hotel Rwanda).
"Filming The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana was an amazing adventure" says Minghella. "The people were marvellous and the landscape, especially in the northern areas of the country, is extraordinary.
"Particularly fascinating to me was working and filming in an African country where old and new are currently co-existing, where traditional values have not yet been eroded by the demands and efficiencies and neuroses of the modern. It was a privilege to be working on a film which celebrates what we can learn from Africa and not what we think we can teach it."
BBC Controller, Fiction, Jane Tranter says: "I'm delighted that such a well loved and unique story as The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is being produced by such an exceptional team.
"To have both voices and the visual eye of Richard Curtis and Anthony Minghella combined with the stunningly beautiful and striking setting of Botswana is a real privilege for BBC Drama and for the BBC One audience. I'm convinced that viewers will be rewarded with a very special piece of truly epic proportions."
This uplifting and enchanting tale is produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sydney Pollack and Timothy Bricknell (Cold Mountain) for Mirage Enterprises along with Amy Moore.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is a Mirage Enterprises production in association with the BBC and The Weinstein Company with the support of the Republic of Botswana.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency was commissioned by Jane Tranter.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency will be broadcast on BBC One in Winter 2008.