BBC Two has officially locked down the cast for Decline and Fall.
Jack Whitehall (Bad Education, Fresh Meat), Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives, Telenovela), David Suchet (Poirot, Effie Gray) and Douglas Hodge (The Night Manager, Penny Dreadful) have been cast in the three-part comedy, which is based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh, TVWise has learned.
Decline and Fall follows the exploits of Paul Pennyfeather, whose unfair expulsion from Oxford kick-starts a disastrous series of events, wherein he is by turn a naive teacher, a celebrity bridegroom, a wanted fugitive, and an international (and unintentional) white slave-trader. All while always being, indubitably, a victim of comic misfortune.
Jack Whitehall, who is coming off of a starring role in the Bad Education feature film, will play lead character Paul Pennyfeather. “I am extremely pleased to be a part of this amazing adaptation by James Wood”, Whitehall said in a statement. “I’ve been a fan of this book since I read it as a teenager and I just hope that I can do it justice.”
Eva Longoria will play Mrs Margot Beste-Chetwynde, the mother of a pupil who attends Llanabba, where Paul first finds employment; David Suchet has been cast as Dr. Fagan, the headmaster of obscure Welsh public school Llanabba; while Douglas Hodge is set to play Grimes, a colleague of Paul Pennyfeather’s, who also works at the public school.
This marks the first ever TV adaptation of Decline and Fall and was commissioned by the BBC’s Controller of TV Channels and iPlayer Charlotte Moore and Controller of Comedy Commissioning Shane Allen earlier this year. The adaptation was penned by Rev scribe James Wood and is set up at Tiger Aspect Productions and Cave Bear Productions. The executive producers are Ben Cavey, Will Gould and James Wood. Guillem Morales will direct.
“One of the greatest comic novels of all time, this satirical masterpiece is long overdue a television debut. Waugh deploys comedy and tragedy to point up prevailing institutional corruption and the dehumanising consequences of elitism, very timely and apposite for today”, said Shane Allen, the BBC’s Controller of Comedy Commissioning James has done a terrific job of getting to the core of it and the writing has attracted a fantastic cast.”