Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
Rufus Sewell (Middlemarch, The Eleventh Hour) is to star as the fictional Italian detective Aurelio Zen in three new feature-length dramas for BBC One through BBC Scotland.
Set in and around Rome, and based on the best-selling novels by the late Michael Dibdin, the series will feature many of the combined attractions of Italy and the Dibdin novels – thrilling investigations, fun, warmth and beautiful people.
Left Bank Pictures will produce for the BBC in association with Mediaset, Masterpiece on PBS and ZDF, with additional funding from BBC Worldwide, Ingenious and Lipsync.
Rufus Sewell said: "I'm thrilled to be a part of this project with the opportunity to play such an intriguing, complex and likeable character."
Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, added: "Rufus Sewell will bring passion and intrigue to BBC One as Italian detective Aurelio Zen.
"Set in contemporary Rome, and from the producers behind the BAFTA award-winning Wallander, I hope Michael Dibdin's books will captivate audiences."
Andy Harries, Chief Executive Of Left Bank Pictures, said: "The Dibdin novels are much loved and they are great detective stories which are both very entertaining and full of insight into Italian life.
"Zen is handsome, humorous and romantic and Rufus Sewell is the perfect choice to play Didbin's delightful creation.
"People love to see Italy on screen and there is a huge appetite for Italian style and culture."
John Alexander (Small Island, Sense And Sensibility) will direct the opening film which will be one of Dibdin's very best novels, Vendetta, adapted by Simon Burke (Sons And Lovers, White Teeth).
Simon, who lives in Perugia with his family, is also writing Cabal and Peter Berry is collaborating with Simon on Ratking.
The producer is Michael Casey (My Boy Jack, Father And Son) with Andy Harries and Francis Hopkinson as executive producers for Left Bank Pictures, Raffaella Bonivento for Mediaset, Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece for PBS and Anne Mensah for BBC Scotland.
Zen will start shooting in Italy in Spring 2010.
Michael Dibdin lived in Italy for many years and had 11 Zen books published, which continue to entertain readers around the world. He died three years ago.
His novels won many awards including the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger for Ratking.
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