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24 September 2014
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The 39 Steps

Rupert Penry-Jones lines up for lead role in Buchan adventure for Christmas


The 39 Steps makes its television debut on BBC One this Christmas


Based on the classic novel by Scottish author John Buchan, and set in the build up to the First World War, The 39 Steps is a roller coaster action adventure, full of excitement, danger, fun and romance, starring Rupert Penry Jones (Burn Up, Spooks) as Richard Hannay.


The one-off drama will be produced by Lynn Horsford (Boy A, To The Ends Of The Earth) with screenplay by Lizzie Mickery (The State Within, Messiah) and directed by James Hawes (Fanny Hill, Merlin).


June 1914, London. Richard Hannay, recently returned from Africa, is bored and restless until he meets Scudder, a man who claims to be a British spy.


When Scudder is killed in Hannay's flat, Hannay finds himself accused of murder and caught up in a deadly conspiracy which not only threatens his life but the safety of the nation.


Spurred on by this bizarre turn of events, Hannay flees London for Scotland hoping to uncover a German espionage ring.


As the police and the spies close in on him, he struggles to decode Scudder's secret notebook. Reluctantly he joins forces with a feisty suffragette, Victoria Sinclair.


Victoria and Hannay don't hit it off, but they find themselves increasingly reliant on each other as they race to unmask a traitor and save Great Britain from invasion.


Producer Lynn Horsford says: "With this adaptation we wanted to stay faithful to the spirit and period of the book, but asked the writer Lizzie to feel free to re-imagine it for a modern audience more familiar with James Bond and Jason Bourne.


"Buchan has crafted such a thrilling adventure that still stands the test of time. The jeopardy is real and I can guarantee an edge-of-your-seat chase movie, perfect for all the family to watch at Christmas."


The 39 Steps is a remarkable tale of an ordinary man who puts his country's interests before his own safety. First published in 1915, John Buchan's 19th novel, was an instant success.


Filming begins in September on location in Scotland. Further casting details will be announced.


The 39 Steps was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Head of Drama Commissioning, and is Executive Produced by Hilary Salmon.


Notes to Editors


BBC Drama Production is a world leader in producing much- loved and critically-acclaimed dramas including Criminal Justice starring Ben Whishaw; Cranford; Oliver Twist; Five Days; Waking The Dead; Silent Witness; Lark Rise To Candleford; Sense And Sensibility; BBC Four's recent Curse Of Comedy season; BBC Two, House Of Saddam; plus this autumn's highlights on BBC One, Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Survivors and Little Dorrit.






Category: TV Drama; BBC One
Date: 21.08.2008
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