Black Narcissus is a three-part miniseries that will air on the BBC this year. The project stars Gemma Arterton and is written by Amanda Coe. Here is everything we know about this new show so far.
What is Black Narcissus About?
The new Black Narcissus miniseries is based on the bestselling 1939 novel by Rumer Godden. Rumer Godden was an English author of over 60 books, but Black Narcissus is undoubtedly one of her best-known works. She wrote the novel while living in Calcutta and running a dance school for both Indian and English children. She was in an unhappy marriage at the time, a situation which many believe inspired the sexual fantasies in the novel.
The novel has been adapted before when it was made into a film in 1947 starring Deborah Kerr as Sister Clodagh and David Farrar as Mr. Dean. The film is famous for using gigantic paintings and large-scale models for the set pieces. It won several awards including Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction, as well as a Golden Globe Award for Best Cinematography.
The book tells the story of a group of Anglican nuns who are sent to a remote mountain in the Himalayas. It’s set in the 1930s just before the colonial order of the world crumbles as a result of the Second World War.
The nuns arrive in Nepal at a remote palace that they intend to turn into a convent. They begin work on establishing a school and a hospital for what they call “the House of Women” but their plans are soon abandoned as various members of the group obsess over different men and begin to question their vows.
Sister Clodagh, the novel’s central character, is the nun who leads the group. Her attraction to the land agent Mr. Dean becomes intermingled with her repressed memories and with historic folklore, making for a spooky and sexy tale.
Each member of the group has her own troubles caused by the dramatic surroundings, which seems to make their emotions more uncontrollable. Briony falls ill, Ruth becomes jealous of Clodagh, leading to a dramatic struggle. As the group of women becomes more and more unstable, disaster seems inevitable.
Are there really ghosts here in the Himalayas, or are the nuns just succumbing to long-repressed primal desires?
The novel is a classic tale of sexual repression and forbidden love that has become a classic throughout the years. Screenwriter Amanda Coe describes it as an extraordinary love story, about the power of a place to get under your skin.
The production sounds like it’s going to be an atmospheric and gripping drama, with Gothic elements of sexy macabre thrown in for good measure!
Who is Involved in this Production?
The new miniseries boasts a fantastic cast and crew. Led by BAFTA-winning writer Amanda Coe, known for both her fiction and her screenplays, and produced by BBC One, the series is sure to be an enthralling and relevant take on the classic story. Amanda Coe is the writer behind hit series Apple Tree Yard, As If, Margot, and Room At The Top.
Gemma Arterton (known for The King’s Man and The Escape) stars as Sister Clodagh. American actor Alessandro Nivola (known for American Hustle and Chimerical) stars as the object of her obsession, Mr. Dean. Sister Ruth is played by Irish-Italian actress Aisling Franciosi (known for The Fall, The Nightingale and i know This Much Is True).
Other familiar faces will appear in the show including Diana Rigg (recently seen in Game of Thrones) and acting legend Jim Broadbent (seen recently in the Paddington and Harry Potter films).
Gina McKee (of Bodyguard and Four Weddings and a Funeral fame) will play Sister Adela. We will also see Rosie Cavaliero as Sister Briony, Patsy Ferran as Sister Blanche, Karen Bryson as Sister Philippa, and Dipika Kunwar as Kanchi.
This all-star cast is filled with icons of the stage and the screen, so you can bet the show will be on everybody’s to-watch list this year.
When is Black Narcissus Going to be Released?
We still don’t know exactly when to expect Black Narcissus to hit our screens, but we know it will be sometime this year. The series started filming back in October 2019. We’ve yet to see a trailer for the new series, but the original 1947 film taster will give you a little taste of what to expect.
What Else Do We Know About Black Narcissus?
The series is adapted from the Rumer Godden Novel for the BBC, but it is produced by DNA TV and FX Productions. Filming, which took place in October 2019, took place in Jomsom, Nepal, and at the Pinewood Studios in London, UK.
There will be three hour-long episodes. The series was directed by newcomer Charlotte Bruus Christensen who is known for her work as Director of Photography on films like Girl On A Train, A Quiet Place, Fences, and the recent film Far From The Madding Crowd.
What Else Does BBC Have in the Works?BBC One has plenty of exciting shows in the pipeline that you can look forward to this year. You can expect to see adaptations of The War of the Worlds and A Suitable Boy.
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