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Timothy Spall OBE to star in Magpie Murders adaptation which begins production next week

Timothy Spall OBE to star in Magpie Murders adaptation which begins production next week

[March 5, 2021] Eleventh Hour Films, MASTERPIECE and BritBox UK today announced that BAFTA-nominated actor Timothy Spall OBE (Mr Turner, Summer of Rockets) has been cast alongside Lesley Manville CBE (Phantom Thread, Let Him Go, Mum) in the upcoming adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’s acclaimed and best-selling crime novel Magpie Murders which begins production next week.

In Magpie Murders, a beguiling murder mystery with a solution that will both astonish and grip viewers, Spall will star as the clever and complex detective Atticus Pünd in the fictional novels by best-selling mystery writer Alan Conway. The plot of Magpie Murders revolves around the character Susan Ryeland (Manville), an editor who is given an unfinished Conway manuscript and has little idea it will change her life.

Timothy Spall OBE is one of Britain’s best-loved and most talented character actors with a critically acclaimed career covering both stage and screen. In 2014, he received wide acclaim for his role as J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh's Mr Turner (2014), for which he won seven international awards, including the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award. Timothy trained at the National Youth Theatre and RADA and began his acting career in the theatre, with seasons at Birmingham Rep and the RSC.

Helmed by director Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty, Military Wives, The A Word), Magpie Murders will shoot in Suffolk and Ireland, and will launch on BritBox UK and MASTERPIECE on PBS in 2022.

Timothy Spall OBE, says “I am delighted to be part of this adaptation of Magpie Murders, and to be working once again with the immensely talented Lesley Manville , Peter Cattaneo, the fantastic cast and all the team at Eleventh Hour Films. I have huge respect for Anthony Horowitz and think the audience will really enjoy his brilliant adaptation of his wonderful and ingenious novel. I’m really looking forward to getting to grips with bringing the intriguing Atticus Pünd to life.”

Jill Green, Chief Executive, Eleventh Hour Films, says “Atticus Pünd is a complex, deep thinking 1950s detective who is at the top of his game – so who better than to have Timothy Spall?”

Susanne Simpson, Executive Producer, MASTERPIECE, says, “Our MASTERPIECE viewers know Timothy Spall from his incredible performances in many of our shows. I can’t wait to see this amazing actor take on the role of Atticus Pünd.”

Will Harrison, Managing Director, BritBox UK, commented, “Timothy Spall is a British acting icon and the perfect choice to play Atticus Pünd. We're so pleased to see production get underway, and can't wait to share Magpie Murders with our subscribers.”

Anthony Horowitz, author and screenwriter of Magpie Murders, says “I was overjoyed when I heard that Timothy Spall had accepted the part of Atticus Pünd. I’m a lifelong fan and there isn’t another actor in the world I would have chosen for this pivotal role.”

Further casting will be announced in due course.



About Eleventh Hour Films

Established in 2010, Eleventh Hour Films is an ideas driven independent production company with a breadth of experience producing drama of the highest quality, both in the UK and internationally. EHF enjoyed critical acclaim in 2020 with the globally successful Alex Rider spy series, a thrilling 8 part adaptation of the best-selling coming-of-age novels from Anthony Horowitz. The series premiered on Amazon Prime Video in the UK and on IMDb TV in the USA, and has sold in over 100 territories worldwide. Production commenced on a second series of Alex Rider in 2021. 

The company’s other productions include Safe House (ITV), New Blood (BBC One), Foyles War (ITV) and Collision (ITV).


Winner of 83 Primetime Emmys® and 18 Peabody Awards, MASTERPIECE has been essential Sunday night viewing for millions of fans since 1971. Susanne Simpson is the executive producer and Rebecca Eaton is the executive producer-at-large for the series. Funding for MASTERPIECE is provided by Viking and Raymond James with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust. Produced for PBS by GBH Boston, MASTERPIECE is known for hits such as All Creatures Great and Small, Sherlock, Downton Abbey and Victoria, and beloved classics such as Upstairs Downstairs, Prime Suspect, The Forsyte Saga and Poldark.

About BritBox

BritBox is a digital video subscription service created by the BBC and ITV. The service brings the very best in past, present and future British programming and award-winning content to viewers all in one place for £5.99 per month in HD. British TV boxsets from All 4 and British films from Film 4 are also available. The service includes high quality factual and entertainment content from Channel 5 plus original British comedies from Comedy Central UK. BritBox features the biggest collection of British content available on any streaming service, and brand new commissions for British production companies specifically created for BritBox. BritBox also offers expert curation and playlists that will enable viewers to easily find programmes they know and discover new favourites  via web, mobile, tablet, connected TVs and streaming devices including Fire TV, Apple TV, Freesat & Chromecast. Content on BritBox can be downloaded and viewed offline where rights allow.

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