Mark Billingham announces new BBC adaptations of two novels


If you’re a UK crime drama or fiction fan, the name Mark Billingham will be familiar to you. The author of 20 novels (or around that number), he’s one of the country’s best and most-read. And, if anyone’s been to the annual Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing festival in Harrogate you’ll know he’s a top bloke, too. Anyway Billingham’s most celebrated character, Tom Thorne, is back in a new story, published this week, in a book called Time Of Death, which, announced Billingham, will be adapted by the BBC.

This is great news, not least because the last time a Tom Thorne story was adapted by a TV channel – Sky1’s Thorne, which starred David Morrissey – not only was it very good but also had the potential to become one of the best procedurals of the decade. It’s just a shame Sky decided to cancel it.

Here’s Bllingham on BBC Breakfast yesterday:

So it’s great news that Billingham’s stories will be back on our screens, but the author himself took to his website to set a few things straight.

Now then, the big TV news I’ve been hinting at for a while. As I announced on BBC Breakfast TV yesterday, the BBC are adapting two of my books for a new drama series to be aired next year. The show will initially be based on the standalone novel, In The Dark, and the brand new one, Time Of Death, and this is because the series is to be built around the character of Helen Weeks. Though the second novel to be adapted features Tom Thorne, he will not actually be part of the TV series. This is all to do with tedious and complicated issues around character rights and though I fully appreciate that some readers may be at best confused and at worst unhappy about this, I am delighted that the books will be transferring to the screen. The books will still be the books and I see no problem with some characters having a parallel – if somewhat different – life on television. I still hope that Thorne will return to the screens one day and rest assured that when he does, he will once again be played by David Morrissey. So, no Thorne in the new BBC series, but rejoice because Phil Hendricks WILL be there…

So two books, but no Thorne, which is an interesting twist. His omission seems to be more down to past incarnations on other TV channels and the right involved therein.

We’ll keep you posted on any developments.



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