One of the things we’ve been keeping an eye on is the BBC’s adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone. From what we knew from a few weeks ago, the five-part costume drama was to be stripped across one week and shown during the day, and was to star John Thomson (Cold Feet, The Fast Show) and Sarah Hadland (Miranda, The Job Lot). Now we know when it’s going to start.
Wilkie Collins, of course, was a Victorian-era novelist and playwright, often credited with inventing the detective novel. The Moonstone, in particular, is thought to signify the birth of a new genre, pre-dating Arthur Conan Coyle (although the likes of ETA Hoffman, William Evans Burton and Edgar Allen Poe might have something to say about that).
Anyway, The Moonstone. A diamond goes missing after a party at an English country house, and numerous suspects have a motive for its disappearance. The charismatic Franklin Blake (Joshua Silver) realises he can only win the heart of his true love, the beautiful and independent Rachel Verinder (Terenia Edwards), if he finds the thief.
He persuades the celebrated detective Sergeant Cuff (Thomson) out of retirement to assist him in investigating the theft and, with the help of the Verinder family’s trusted servant Gabriel Betteredge (Leo Wringer), they travel between London and Yorkshire in their quest.
The Moonstone: Monday 31st October, 2.15pm, BBC1