David Morrissey takes the lead in BBC Two’s adaptation of China Miéville’s The City & The City

Company News April 13, 2017

David Morrissey will play Inspector Tyador Borlú in the BBC Two adaptation of China Miéville’s mind-bending novel The City & The City.

Tony Grisoni (The Young Pope, Southcliffe, The Red Riding Trilogy) adapts this four-part genre-busting thriller from one of Britain’s foremost fantasy writers in a production made by Mammoth Screen.

Morrissey (The Missing ll, The Walking Dead) heads a cast which includes Mandeep Dhillon (Some Girls) as Constable Lizbyet Corwi of the Besźel Policzai, Maria Schrader (Deutschland 83) as Senior Detective Qussima Dhatt of the Ul Qoma Militsya, Ron Cook (Mr Selfridge)as Borlú’s superior Commissar Gadlem, Danny Webb (Humans) as hard-right nationalist politician Major Yorj Syedr, and Christian Camargo (Penny Dreadful) as Doctor David Bowden, an American academic.

The body of a mutilated foreign student is discovered in the streets of the remarkable, crumbling European city of Besźel. Cases like this are run of the mill for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad – until his investigations uncover evidence that the dead girl had come from another city called Ul Qoma. But the relationship between the two cities defies comprehension and will challenge everything Borlú holds dear.

David Morrissey says: “I am delighted to be working with the brilliant Tony Grisoni again on this exciting project. I am a huge fan of the original book by China Miéville.”

China Miéville, three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award, published The City &The City in 2009 to dazzling acclaim, drawing comparisons with Kafka, Orwell and Philip K Dick.He says:  “It’s been fascinating and moving to witness the translation from fiction to script, and to work with Tony (Grisoni) and Tom (Shankland) and everyone on this production. What they’re making feels both familiar, sending me right back to the book, and yet very much their own, something I’m eager to discover. I’m extremely impatient for it!”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “The City & The City is a truly extraordinary story and Tony Grisoni and Tom Shankland’s vision of it is as humane as it is skilful. I’m delighted that we have such a brilliant cast led by David Morrissey and a production team that have come together to make this distinctive drama for BBC Two.”

Executive producer Preethi Mavahalli adds: “Set in divided cities where communities live cheek by jowl, choosing what they see, and ‘unsee’, this is a story that explores the way we live together today. The City & The City is a noir thriller with a fantastical twist which will quite literally break boundaries with its unique take on the murder mystery.”

The City & The City will be filmed on location in Manchester and Liverpool. The producer is Betsan Morris-Evans (NW, Endeavour) and the director is Tom Shankland (House of Cards, The Missing ll). Robyn Slovo (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) executive produces, alongside Tony Grisoni, Preethi Mavahalli and Damien Timmer from Mammoth Screen and Lucy Richer for the BBC.

Mammoth Screen is one of the UK’s leading production companies. Forthcoming shows for the BBC include POLDARK III and IV, ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE and NOUGHTS AND CROSSES, and VICTORIA II, FEARLESS, NEXT OF KIN, DESIRE and ENDEAVOUR V for ITV. Mammoth Screen is an ITV Studios company.

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