Edition: U.S. / Global


BBC to Adapt ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’ as Mini-Series

Susanna Clarke's novel was published in 2004. Susanna Clarke’s novel was published in 2004.

To a television lineup that includes time-traveling adventures and clone-related intrigues, BBC America is adding a little magic. That network and its British sibling, the BBC, said on Monday that they would produce a television adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s best-selling novel, “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell,” which would be shown as a mini-series in 2014.

Originally published in 2004, “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” is set in Britain in the early 1800s as the Napoleonic Wars are raging, and centers on two competing conjurers, Gilbert Norrell and Jonathan Strange. Strange becomes Mr. Norrell’s pupil, and  they variously work with and against each other to restore magic to their world. (Ms. Clarke’s novel, which pays tribute to many 19th-century literary styles, also runs nearly 800 pages and includes some 200 footnotes.)

The BBC said its “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” mini-series would be presented in seven hourlong installments, adapted by Peter Harness (a screenwriter and playwright whose credits include “Wallander” and “Is Anybody There?”) and directed by Toby Haynes (“Doctor Who,” “Sherlock”). BBC America said it would show the mini-series during its Supernatural Saturday programming block, which includes science-fiction and fantasy-themed shows like “Doctor Who” and “Orphan Black.”

No casting was immediately announced for Jonathan Strange, Mr. Norrell or the footnotes, and we’ll assume Matt Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch are otherwise occupied.

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