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Cast Announced for New PBS Masterpiece Drama, 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 5th 2011 1:00PM
Masterpiece logoIt's been announced that Masterpiece on PBS is set to mark the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth by producing an ambitious two-part drama based on his final, unfinished novel.

Described as "a strange, disturbing and modern tale about drugs, stalking and darkness visible," 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' is a is a psychological thriller about a provincial choirmaster's obsession with a young woman, and the lengths to which he'll go to attain her.

Matthew Rhys ('Brothers & Sisters') has signed on to play the troubled, opium-addicted choirmaster John Jasper, with Tamzin Merchant ('The Tudors') playing the object of his affections, 17-year old Roza Bud.

The titular character of Edwin Drood, Jasper's nephew, will be taken on by Freddie Fox ('The Shadow Line'), and the cast is rounded out by actors including Rory Kinnear ('Lennon Naked'), Julia McKenzie ('Cranford'), David Dawson ('Luther') and Ian McNeice ('Doctor Who').

The drama has been written by Gwyneth Hughes ('Five Days,' 'Miss Austen Regrets'), who said "Who could resist the challenge of inventing an ending for Charles Dickens' unfinished last work? The great entertainer left us only the first half of a dark hearted mystery tale, its impossibly young and vulnerable heroine pitted against one of the most creepy and chilling anti-heroes in English literature."

She added that, "The tragedy of the erotically obsessed cathedral choirmaster, John Jasper, throbs with sexual menace, murder and opium addiction. But alongside his story runs a brilliant small-town social comedy which is often laugh-out-loud funny. After all, this is Dickens, the great emotional extremist, and master of the rollercoaster ride. It's just the most enormous fun."

'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' is due to premiere in 2012 on PBS.

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