Rowan Atkinson to play Maigret in new ITV version

'Johnny English Reborn ' film premiere, London, Britain - 02 Oct 2011

Well, this news came out of the blue. One of the most revered British actors in the comedy arena – Rowan Atkinson – is to don the heavy coat and pipe of Georges Simenon’s classic fictional detective, Jules Maigret, in two new ITV adaptations. First seen in print in 1931, Maigret went onto to feature in 75 Simenon-penned novels. ITV, without a Poirot and a Foyle, and Agatha Christie doing a runner back to the BBC, has re-invested in Maigret, a series we last saw on the channel in 1992, starring the equally incomparable Michael Gambon.

Set in the 1950s in Paris, the first of the two films, Maigret Sets A Trap and Maigret’s Dead Man, will go into production in September. Maigret Sets A Trap is adapted from the Simenon novel Maigret Tend Un Piège, while the second film Maigret’s Dead Man is based on Maigret Et Son Mort.

The hiring of Atkinson is an interesting one. Known for his expressive face and ability to contort his features for comic gain, he’s now taking on a serious role. And I can see it working – he’s older now and has a slightly worn look about him (in a good way), which will suit Maigret’s style well. He also has a beady-eyed curiousness to his face, which, again, will be perfect for this role.

On the role, Atkinson says: “I have been a devourer of the Maigret novels for many years and I’m very much looking forward to playing such an intriguing character, at work in Paris during a fascinating period in its history”.

No word on when these two new films will air, but we’re betting early 2016.



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