BBC One, Agatha Christie Limited, and Mammoth Screen have ordered the adaptation to series of Agatha Christie’s 1961 thriller The Pale Horse, Deadline has learned. Writer and executive producer Sarah Phelps adapted the two-part drama, which follows the character Easterbrook who attempts to uncover “the mystery of a list of names found in the shoe of a dead woman.” Easterbrook arrives at the village of Much Deeping and finds The Pale Horse, where three well-known witches live, and is determined to uncover the truth behind the mysterious deaths.
Rufus Sewell will play Mark Easterbrook and Kaya Scodelario will play Ermia. The cast also includes Bertie Carvel (Doctor Foster), who will play Zachariah Osborne; Sean Pertwee (Gotham), who will play Detective Inspector Lejeune; Poppy Gilbert (Call The Midwife), who will play Thomasina Tuckerton; Henry Lloyd-Hughes (Killing Eve), who will play David Ardingly; Madeleine Bowyer (Black Mirror), who will play Jessie Davis; and Ellen Robertson (Snowflake), who will play Poppy. Sheila Atim (Girl From The North Country), Rita Tushingham (Vera), and Kathy Kiera Clarke (Derry Girls, Tartuffe), will play the three witches. Georgina Campbell (His Dark Materials), Sarah Woodward (Queens of Mystery), and Claire Skinner (Outnumbered) will also star in the series.
Writer and Executive Producer, Sarah Phelps said: “Written in 1961, against the backdrop of the Eichmann Trial, the escalation of the Cold War and Vietnam, The Pale Horse is a shivery, paranoid story about superstition, love gone wrong, guilt and grief. It’s about what we’re capable of when we’re desperate and what we believe when all the lights go out and we’re alone in the dark.”
According to Controller of BBC Drama, Piers Wenger: “Sarah Phelps’ adaptations of Agatha Christie’s most iconic novels have introduced the author’s work to a new generation of fans. The Pale Horse is one of her most unusual and atmospheric works and lends itself perfectly to another stunning screen adaptation from Sarah.”
Helen Ziegler, the Executive Producer for Mammoth Screen, said: “Sarah Phelps has crafted an extraordinary adaptation of Agatha Christie’s celebrated 1960s novel The Pale Horse, where the rational world and dark supernatural forces seem to collide. Asking the question, how far would you go to protect your own happiness? it’s a tale of guilt, terror, and witchcraft with we hope will delight and terrify viewers in equal measure!”
“The Pale Horse is a stunningly atmospheric, bewitching and thrilling piece, which has attracted the most wonderful stellar cast. We are utterly thrilled to see Sarah’s brilliant writing be brought to life by director Leonora Lonsdale, the fantastic production team and incredible cast,” Ziegler added.
James Prichard, the exec producer and CEO of Agatha Christie Limited, said: “This adaptation feels like nothing we have done before. This is a very different story from most that my great grandmother wrote, and Sarah has taken it to new heights. The cast, with the likes of Rufus Sewell and Bertie Carvel, is superlative, and it should be a highly entertaining drama.”
Filming is currently underway in Bristol and its surrounding area. Leonora Lonsdale (Beast) serves as director and Ado Yoshizaki Cassuto (City Of Tiny Lights) serves as producer of the series.