The show marks a reunion for Dornan with writer-director Allan Cubitt, who he previously worked with on crime drama “The Fall” between 2013-2016. It will be the first time “The Americans” star Rhys has worked with Cubitt.
Ann Skelly also stars in the show, which is produced by Imaginarium Productions and Soho Moon for BBC Two. It is adapted by Cubitt from a novel by Eugene McCabe.
Set in Northern Ireland in 1885, “Death and Nightingales” is a story of love, betrayal, deception and revenge that follows a young woman’s struggles to control her own destiny. The action takes place over a 24-hour period during which Skelly’s character, Beth Winters, decides on her 25th birthday to escape her limited life and difficult relationship with her landowner stepfather (Rhys), with the aid of the charming Liam Ward (Dornan).
“We are thrilled to combine the wonderful talents of Matthew Rhys and Jamie Dornan with the remarkable new star-in-the-making Ann Skelly,” producer Jonathan Cavendish said.
Rhys, who is Welsh, last appeared on the BBC in the 2013 miniseries “Death Comes to Pemberley” and in an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” the year before that. The sixth and final season of critically acclaimed “The Americans” is currently airing on FX in the U.S. and ITV3 in the U.K.
Dornan will next be seen on the big screen as Will Scarlet in Otto Bathurst’s “Robin Hood,” which is set for release this fall. Skelly recently appeared in a supporting role in the BBC and PBS’ adaptation of “Little Women.”
“Death and Nightingales” was commissioned for the BBC by Patrick Holland, controller of BBC Two, and Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama. James Mitchell and Tommy Bulfin serve as executive producers for Soho Moon and BBC Two, respectively. Cavendish produces for Imaginarium Productions. The production is supported by Northern Ireland Screen.
Red Arrow Studios International is handling worldwide distribution on the show, which is scheduled to begin shooting this summer on location in Northern Ireland.