Jules Maigret is heading back to ITV.
The commercial broadcaster has given the greenlight to a pair of feature-length standalone Jules Maigret dramas set in 1950s Paris, TVWise has learned. Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean, Johnny English) is set to play the iconic French detective in both adaptations.
Jule Maigret (Atkinson) is a legendary French detective, who is described as “magnificently measured and insightful”. The character was created by Georges Simenon and first appeared in in print in 1931. By the time of his death in 1989, Simenon had written some 75 novels featuring the character, known for his laconic manner, heavy coat and trademark pipe.
“I have been a devourer of the Maigret novels for many years and I’m very much looking forward to playing such an intriguing character, at work in Paris during a fascinating period in its history”, Rowan Atkinson said in a statement.
The two stand alone dramas, titled Maigret Sets A Trap and Maigret’s Dead Man, are being adapted by Love & Marriage scribe Stewart Harcourt and are based on the Georges Simenon novels Maigret tend un piège and Maigret et son mort. Jeremy Gwilt is the producer, while Stewart Harcourt, Barnaby Thompson, Ben Latham-Jones and John Simenon will executive produce.
Working under the collective title Maigret, the two films are envisioned as the first entries in a potential long running film series in a similar vein to Poirot and Marple. They are being produced by Ealing Studios and Maigret Productions Ltd (a Peters Fraser Dunlop Group company).
This marks the second time that ITV has taken a stab at brining the Maigret character to British television. The broadcaster previously commissioned and produced an adaptation in the 1990s, featuring Michal Gambon in the titular role.
“Simenon was the godfather of the modern detective novel. We are excited to bring one of his greatest characters and the gritty life of Paris in the 1950’s to the screen”, added Executive Producer Barnaby Thompson. “We are thrilled to be making this new adaptation with ITV.”