Magpie Murders: Lesley Manville stars in BritBox adaptation of bestselling crime novel

Anthony Horowitz's intriguing crime thriller comes to the small screen in a BritBox original featuring Lesley Manville and Timothy McMullan.

By Katie Archer Published: 25 November 2021 - 10.52am
Eleventh Hour Films Lesley Manville and Timothy McMullan

BritBox may have made a name for itself with a huge archive of the best in British TV, but it’s starting to produce its own original series – including the forthcoming Magpie Murders.

The detective drama is adapted from Anthony Horowitz’s crime novels and stars Timothy McMullan and Lesley Manville in the lead roles.

Here’s everything we know so far about the plot, cast, and when you can expect to see Magpie Murders on BritBox.

What is Magpie Murders about?

The detective series has been adapted for TV from Anthony Horowitz’s novels and joins Irvine Welsh's adaptation of Crime as one of BritBox’s most exciting offerings.

Described as a mystery with a solution that will astonish and grip viewers, we’re expecting plenty of jawdropping plot twists from this one.

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In the novel, editor Susan Ryeland is working on the latest manuscript from the mystery writer Alan Conway - bestselling creator of the detective Atticus Pünd - when she discovers that the final chapters are missing. When she goes to Conway's house to retrieve the missing pages, she stumbles across a mystery that can only be solved by reading back through the manuscript itself.

Horowitz said: “Magpie Murders is my most successful novel and it wasn’t easy to adapt. But I think the result is a completely original drama that will delight and beguile audiences in equal measure.” 

The author is also known for his Alex Rider series which was adapted for film starring Alex Pettyfer, and for creating hit drama series Foyle’s War.

Who is in the cast?

Lesley Manville in Magpie Murders Eleventh Hour Films

In March 2021, it was announced that Timothy Spall - known for Mr Turner, Harry Potter and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet - had taken on the lead role of Pund.

However, he had to pull out because of scheduling conflicts and was replaced by The Crown's Timothy McMullan.

Lesley Manville co-stars as Susan Ryeland and is best known to viewers for her roles in Mum, The Crown, and Harlots.

Daniel Mays in Magpie Murders Eleventh Hour Films

Writer Conway is portrayed by Conleth Hill, while further cast members include Daniel Mays (Line of Duty, Des), Alexandros Logothetis (42°C, The Island), Claire Rushbrook (Whitechapel, My Mad Fat Diary), Matthew Beard (Dracula, And When Did You Last See Your Father?), Pippa Haywood (Bodyguard, Green Wing, Bridgerton) and Michael Maloney (The Crown, The Trial Of Christine Keeler).

The series is directed by Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty, Military Wives, The A Word).

Matthew Beard, Tim McMullan, Peter Cattaneo and Lesley Manville on the set of Magpie Murders. Eleventh Hour Films

When will Magpie Murders air?

Production finished in London, Suffolk and Ireland in August 2021, and Magpie Murders will be released on BritBox on February 10, 2022.