Ramping up its event drama output, BBC One has commissioned three new series for 2013. Period fantasy drama Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell is a six-part series based on the best-selling novel by Susanna Clarke and adapted by Wallander‘s Peter Harness. The book is an alternate history of England set during the Napoleonic Wars and focusing on a magician and his apprentice who use their powers to help the government but who are ultimately pitted against one another. New Line optioned the movie rights back in 2005 with Christopher Hampton adapting, but the film was never made. The series is produced by Cuba Pictures in association with Feel Film and Farmoor. Cuba recently produced Rufus Norris’ well-received festival title Broken. Toby Haynes, who directed the Season 2 Sherlock finale, The Reichenbach Fall, is helming. Nick Hirschkorn and Nick Marston are producers, Justin Thomson-Glover, Patrick Irwin and Matthew Read are exec producers.
Teaming with Carnival Films, the NBCUniversal-owned production company that makes Downton Abbey, BBC One has also ordered modern romance The 7.39 from One Day writer David Nicholls. The story sees two commuters meet cute on a train and end up falling in love over the course of their morning journeys. Sally Woodward Gentle is exec producing for Carnival. And, the BBC is working with Being Human creator Toby Whithouse, who’s prepping The Game, a six-part 1970s Cold War spy thriller produced by BBC Cymru Wales. The show revolves around a secret team of investigators assembled by the charismatic but paranoid head of MI5 as they try to uncover a devastating Soviet plot. Exec producers are Upstairs Downstairs‘ Faith Penhale, Torchwood‘s Brian Minchin and Whithouse. Cast and shooting schedules have not been set for any of the projects.