Viaplay orders new Rebus series
James R | On 12, Nov 2022
Viaplay is bringing back Inspector John Rebus to our screens, with a new TV series based on Ian Rankin’s books.
The new streaming service, which launched in the UK this month, offers a mix of sports and original drama, but leans heavily on Nordic crime series for its catalogue. Rankin’s novels are an ideal IP to adapt and turn into a flagship programme. The books have sold 30 million copies and been translated into 36 languages, but have also proven their appeal on screen before, with 13 novels dramatised for TV between 2000 and 2007 by STV, with John Hannah and Ken Stott playing the detective. During the Covid-19 lockdowns, Brian Cox also recorded a short for the National Theatre of Scotland playing the detective as an older man, with the short play released online. (STV’s series, pictured above, is available on STV Player and Sky.)
Viaplay is teaming up with Eleventh Hour Films for what it describes as “a major reimagining” of Rankin’s detective. Set in contemporary Edinburgh, the six-part series places Rebus at the heart of a compelling new story devised by screenwriter Gregory Burke (Entebbe, 71). In the drama, Rebus is in his 30s, recently divorced and demoted to Detective Sergeant. He has a new colleague, Detective Constable Siobhan Clarke, and is struggling to deal with the changes in his personal and professional life. At the same time, Rebus’s daughter, Sammy, and ex-wife, Rhona, are enjoying an affluent existence with Rhona’s new partner – while Rebus’s brother Michael is finding out that in a society where the gaps between the `haves and have-nots’ keep widening, taking shortcuts to provide for your family is no longer a temptation, but a necessity.
Sir Ian Rankin: “I’m hugely excited at the thought of Rebus returning to our screens and it’s a privilege to have Gregory Burke write the scripts. I’ve been a fan since Gagarin Way and know that he understands the world of Rebus and the compelling central character. I’m chuffed to bits that Viaplay and Eleventh Hour are involved in this groundbreaking endeavour and I can’t wait to share the results!”
Filippa Wallestam, Viaplay Group Chief Content Officer: “Sir Ian Rankin is a global storytelling phenomenon, and partnering to reimagine Rebus for a new generation of viewers is a remarkable way for Viaplay to take the UK stage. This ambitious series will explore family, morality and class in British society through an exciting and emotionally charged story, set against the Edinburgh landmarks that Rankin’s readers know so well. Together with Gregory Burke and the team at Eleventh Hour Films, we will create an unforgettable show with Scottish roots, international appeal and universal themes.”
The principal cast and director of the new production will be announced shortly, and filming is set to begin in spring 2023.