Lesley Manville to Lead 'Magpie Murders' TV Adaptation, Peter Cattaneo Set to Direct

Lesley Manville - Getty - H 2018
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Lesley Manville

Anthony Horowitz has scripted the PBS/Britbox series based on his own bestselling novel about an editor given an unfinished manuscript that will change her life.

Lesley Manville is set to star in the upcoming adaptation of Anthony Horowitz's crime novel Magpie Murders for PBS Masterpiece and Britbox UK, with Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) attached to direct.

Manville — an Oscar and BAFTA nominee for Phantom Thread who is set to portray Princess Margaret in the fifth and sixth seasons of The Crown — will play Susan Ryeland, an editor who is given an unfinished manuscript of author Alan Conway’s latest mystery novel, with little idea it will change her life.

"Fans of Anthony Horowitz’s highly acclaimed, thrilling novel will be utterly delighted that it is being made into a six-part drama. I could not be happier to be playing Susan Ryeland — what a fabulous character for me to grapple with," said Manville.

"Anthony has adapted his novel into wonderfully witty and richly layered scripts. Two cleverly intertwined stories and a host of fascinating characters led by Lesley Manville make this an irresistible opportunity for a director," added Cattaneo.

Magpie Murders is being produced by the Sony Pictures Television-backed Eleventh Hour Films, behind the recent Alex Rider series.

"Lesley is one of our finest acting talents and it is wonderful to have an actress at the top of her game to bring Susan Ryeland to life," said Eleventh Hour CEO Jill Green. "Peter is a brilliant and experienced director who will capture the extraordinary and distinctive tone of the mystery."

Magpie Murders was first published in 2016 and topped multiple best-seller lists, including The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, as well as appearing on year-end "best books" lists from USA Today, NPR and others. It won international awards including the prestigious Macavity Award for Best Novel. It is the first book in the Susan Ryeland mystery series, and Horowitz’s sequel Moonflower Murders was released in 2020 and is currently in the New York Times bestseller list.

Further casting is set to be announced in due course.