Magpie Murders: Timothy Spall to star in BritBox adaptation of bestselling crime novel

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

By Katie Archer Published: 10 May 2021 - 4.27pm
Getty Timothy Spall

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 Spall in the lead role.

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 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.

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?

Timothy Spall Getty

Not many of the cast have been announced yet, but of those that have, it looks set to be bursting with big names.

Timothy Spall, known for Mr Turner, Harry Potter and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, takes on the lead role of Pund.

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

Spall said: “I am delighted to be part of this adaptation of Magpie Murders, and to be working once again with the immensely talented Lesley Manville. 

Lesley Manville Getty

“I have huge respect for Anthony Horowitz and think the audience will really enjoy his brilliant adaptation of his wonderful and ingenious novel. I’m really looking forward to getting to grips with bringing the intriguing Atticus Pünd to life.”

Horowitz said: “I was overjoyed when I heard that Timothy Spall had accepted the part of Atticus Pund. I’m a lifelong fan and there isn’t another actor in the world I would have chosen for this pivotal role.”

How can I watch Magpie Murders?

Magpie Murders is set to be available to stream exclusively for BritBox subscribers in the UK, and on Masterpiece in the US.

The series began production in March and is expected to be ready to air in 2022.

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