Best Selling Fantasy Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell Coming to the Small Screen
When I first read this amazing best selling fantasy book by Susanna Clarke, I was enchanted by it. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell is a charming combination of historical fantasy and alternate history with plenty of mystery surrounding the two main characters. We watch the grand battle for supremacy between two magicians against the background of a Napoleonic Europe. The mysterious Raven King controls the north of England and magic sits in uneasy submergence across the land.
For a taste of Clark’s superb writing, you might want to listen to this short excerpt from the audio book. As you can hear, it is a book that holds you in its spell. It is also one I really never thought could possibly be made into a film because of the scope of the settings, the magic that threads through the story and of course the richness of Clarke’s descriptions. There are tinges of steampunk sensibility in the book, and a large overview with internal arguments that make for wonderful reading. However, I always thought it would be too much of a challenge to film.
Coming to the BBC
Turns out I was wrong, and for all the right reasons. If you are a fan of the Dr. Who show, you may be familiar with the name Toby Hayes, for he directed the rather spectacular two-part story The Pandorica Opens and Big Bang. He also was responsible for the Season Two finale of Sherlock Holmes, another stellar piece that showed his flair for taking on ambitious material. He will have his hands full with this show, but if anyone could pull it off it may well be Hayes.
There is no news yet on when we will see this six part adaptation. All I have heard so far is that it is BBC tackling the television version of the best selling fantasy tale. Who will be cast is anyone’s guess, but I personally would love to see Brit Adrian Turner from another British TV show, Being Human. If you have seen the still of him in The Hobbit, I think he would make a great Mr. Norell.
If you haven’t read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, I would highly recommend it. There really is no other fantasy book out there that quite compares. If you have already read it, give us your opinion of this plan by BBC to make it into a six-part mini-series. Can you imagine it? What is your casting call for this book?