The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency returns to BBC One as an inspirational new six-part series in 2009
Following the highly successful and critically acclaimed one-off film broadcast earlier this year, The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency returns as a six-part series, based on Alexander McCall-Smith's internationally best-selling novels.
Filming has begun on location in Botswana for BBC One, HBO and The Weinstein Company.
The first-ever drama series filmed and set in Botswana, the six-part 60-minute series chronicles the poignant and amusing adventures of Precious Ramotswe, the wise proprietor of the only female-owned detective agency in Botswana, who takes on a wide range of cases from the strange and unusual to the dark and mysterious.
The series will continue the vision of the late Academy Award-winning director, Anthony Minghella.
His feature-length film of the first book in the celebrated series premiered on BBC One on March 23 2008, gaining an audience of 6.87 million viewers and receiving huge critical acclaim.
The new series will transmit in Winter 2009.
Producer Timothy Bricknell says: "We were all thrilled with the reception the film received earlier this year from both critics and BBC viewers. Anthony was so proud of the project and would have been delighted to see it do so well.
"We are determined to make sure the series lives up to Anthony's vision of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency.
"Everyone involved is very pleased to be back in Botswana and capturing the essence of such a remarkable and extraordinary country."
The stellar international cast featured in the film will return to bring McCall-Smith's wonderfully colourful characters to life.
Grammy award-winning singer Jill Scott will reprise the role of "traditionally built" Mma Ramotswe, Botswana's only female detective.
Anika Noni Rose returns as Mma Makutsi, her faithful secretary and the only graduate ever to score 97% on her secretarial exams.
Joining them once again will be Desmond Dube, the ladies' flamboyant hairdressing neighbour BK, and Lucian Msamati as JLB Matekoni, Mma Ramotswe's loyal and trusted friend, who also happens to be in love with her.
New to the series is British actor Paterson Joseph (Survivors), playing Cephas Buthelezi – a fellow private detective who sets up a rival agency and moves in on Mma Ramotswe's patch.
Although she runs Botswana's No.1 female detective agency, business isn't going as well for Mma Ramotswe as she had hoped, but soon the case board starts to look a lot more interesting.
The Definitely Disturbed Dentist, The Absconding Apostolic and Badly Behaved Beauties all soon get Mma Ramotswe's top detective brain working.
Jane Tranter, Controller, BBC Fiction says: "I am deeply proud to commission a series of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency.
"It's a fitting tribute to Anthony that his beautifully vibrant film was so loved by the BBC One audience as well as the critics."
The first six episodes of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency are written by Nicholas Wright and Robert Jones and they are directed by Charles Sturridge and Tim Fywell.
The project is again produced by Timothy Bricknell and executive produced by Richard Curtis and Amy J Moore.
Executive producer credits are also awarded to the late Anthony Minghella and the late Sydney Pollack.
The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency was commissioned by Jane Tranter, Controller, BBC Fiction and Roly Keating, Acting Controller, BBC One, and Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One.
The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency is a Mirage Enterprises and Cinechicks production in association with the BBC, HBO Entertainment and The Weinstein Company.