BBC Two announces The City And The City

Company News September 9, 2015

BBC Two has announced The City And The City, a 4×60 adaptation by Mammoth Screen of China Miéville’s novel. China Miéville, three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award, published The City And The City in 2009 to dazzling acclaim, drawing comparisons with Kafka, Orwell and Philip K Dick.

Tony Grisoni (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Southcliffe, The Red Riding Trilogy) adapts this unique thriller from one of Britain’s foremost fantasy writers.

In a departure for science fantasy that will bend the mind as well as the senses, the four-part serial follows Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad, resident of the crumbling city of Besźel. The mutilated body of a foreign student is found dumped on some wasteland and Borlú is assigned to the case. Borlu is unfazed until he uncovers evidence that the dead girl had been involved in the political turmoil between Besźel and its prosperous twin city of Ul Qoma, which occupies the same physical space. Citizens of each city are forbidden from seeing each other, and the frontier between the cities is policed by ‘Breach’ which punishes all transgressions.

Despite the violent deaths of those around him, and a growing realisation that he is personally implicated in the crimes, Borlú doggedly chases the truth. To solve the case he will have to embark on an odyssey of the mind, a journey across the border from one reality to another.

Kim Shillinglaw, Controller BBC Two says: “I want BBC Two to give writers and directors the space to do their most creative, signature work and I’m thrilled to be announcing an adaptation of China Miéville’s novel, The City and the City. Miéville is one of the country’s most popular fantasy writers and I’m really pleased that we are bringing his highly original voice to the screen, adapted by acclaimed writer, Tony Grisoni.”

Mammoth’s Managing Director Damien Timmer adds: “We are thrilled to be bringing China’s dazzlingly inventive novel to BBC Two. It’s a 21st Century classic – a truly thrilling and imaginative work which asks big questions about how we perceive the world and how we interact with each other.”

Rebecca Keane, Preethi Mavahalli and Damien Timmer from Mammoth Screen developed the project with producer Robyn Slovo (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and Tony Grisoni.

Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning says: “The City and The City is an extraordinarily original novel which through Tony Grissoni’s wonderful adaptation, promises to be a truly distinct, surprising and compelling drama for BBC Two.”

Rebecca Keane, Preethi Mavahalli and Damien Timmer from Mammoth Screen developed the project with producer Robyn Slovo (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and Tony Grisoni.

The Executive Producers on the show are Tony Grisoni, Damien Timmer and Preethi Mavahalli for Mammoth Screen and Matthew Read for the BBC.