As part of its Tuesday panel at the Television Critics Association 2023 winter press tour, Masterpiece has announced two new projects including a biographical series about Noele “Nolly” Gordon starring Helena Bonham Carter and “Moonflower Murders,” the follow up project to “Magpie Murders,” are in the works for the network.
“Nolly” tells the story of the British soap opera legend whose unceremonious firing from her hit show at the height of her career was front-page news. As one of the most famous faces on British TV in the 1960s and ’70s, Gordon is described as a woman who refused to play by the rules and ultimately transformed into a forgotten icon after the industry turned on her. Carter will star in the titular role.
“Doctor Who” showrunner Russell T. Davies penned the script. “Nolly” marks the first production from Nicola Shindler’s new production company Quay Street Productions, which is part of ITV Studios.
Masterpiece will also be co-producing and broadcasting “Moonflower Murders,” a six-part drama based on the novel written by Anthony Horowitz, CBE.
Lesley Manville (The Crown, Phantom Thread) as editor turned sleuth Susan Ryeland and Timothy McMullan (Patrick Melrose, The Crown) as famous literary detective Atticus Pünd.
According to Masterpiece, the sequel picks up with Susan, who after leaving the publishing industry has traded in her former life for the comfort of Crete where she stays with her longtime boyfriend, Andreas. She ends up returning to London when she is asked to investigate a mystery relating to Alan Conway, the author of the best-selling Atticus Pünd mysteries, whose death changed her life in Magpie Murders.
“I can’t wait to get started on the scripts of Moonflower Murders. We had a fantastic response to Magpie and, speaking personally, it was a joy bringing Susan Ryeland and Atticus Pünd to life on the screen. There are lots of surprises in the second book, including something I’ve never done before in a murder mystery. It’s going to be great fun,” said Horowitz.
Added executive producer Jill Green: “We had the best reviews ever for an Eleventh Hour Films drama, which was hugely satisfying given the creative attention given over to every aspect of the series, by every member of cast and crew. So, it is wonderful to be all returning again with the equally complicated and riveting Moonflower Murders.”
“Moonflower Murders” is also executive produced Eleventh Hour Films and adapted by Horowitz. BBC is the UK partner on the series.
Also announced during the panel, the premiere date for “Tom Jones” has been set for April 30.
The four-part adaptation of Henry Fielding’s novel of the same name will be a new twist on the story following an illegitimate young man’s love for a beautiful heiress.
Solly McLeod (“House of the Dragon”) stars as the title character, with Sophie Wilde (You Don’t Know Me) as Sophia Western, Tom’s seemingly unattainable love of his life. He is a foundling of uncertain parentage, while she is an heiress. In 18th-century England, their class differences make their journey to find each other complicated and treacherous. Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso”) plays Lady Bellaston, a seductive and vengeful temptress who comes between Tom and Sophia.
James Fleet (“Bridgerton”) joins the cast as Squire Allworthy, alongside Alun Armstrong (“Little Dorrit”), Felicity Montagu (“The Durrells in Corfu”) as Bridget Allworthy, James Wilbraham (“In My Skin”) as William Blifil, Shirley Henderson (“See How They Run”) as Aunt Western, Tamzin Merchant (“Carnival Row”) as Aunt Harriet, and Pearl Mackie (“Doctor Who”) as Honour.
Said Gwyneth Hughes in a statement: “It’s been the most joyful experience to bring this sparkling romance to the screen. It’s a story in which the sun never stops shining, and in which love conquers all, and that just makes such a refreshing change after the last couple of years! Henry Fielding created brilliant characters, fully of their time, but still speaking directly to us in the modern world, as we strive towards our own versions of love and happiness. I’ve loved writing alongside him.”
“This new adaptation of Tom Jones is a big-hearted rom-com that will absolutely delight our viewers. It’s fun–full of laughter and romance. I’m extremely proud to partner with producers Mammoth Screen, writer Gwyneth Hughes, and an outstanding cast on this joyful show,” said Executive Producer Susanne Simpson.
Mammoth Screen will co-produce alongside Masterpiece. The program will also be available to stream on PBS.org, PBS Passport, and the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel. “Tom Jones” will premiere at 9 p.m. ET on PBS.