MAJOR ANGLO-IRISH CO PRODUCTION BRINGS JOHN BANVILLE’S ACCLAIMED NOVELS TO THE SCREEN

Based on the books by Benjamin Black (pseudonym of award-winning Irish writer John Banville), Quirke is a new series for BBC ONE adapted by screenwriters Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson and starring Gabriel Byrne in the title role.

Quirke (we never get to know his Christian name) is the chief pathologist in the Dublin city morgue – a charismatic loner whose job takes him into unexpected places as he uncovers the secrets of sudden death in 1950s Dublin. It’s a rich and smouldering world along whose smoky streets and damp alleys Quirke goes from bars that glimmer with peat fires and whiskey to elegant Dublin houses brimming with sexual tension. It’s a time full of mystery, secrets and intrigue.

Each episode will see him investigate the death of one of the unfortunate souls who end up on his mortuary slab. But as Quirke turns accidental detective he discovers his investigations are often more closely linked to his own life than he could ever have imagined. Little by little he is forced to confront the sins of his past as he peels back the layers of his own tangled family history.

The three feature length episodes each take their stories from different books in the series, ‘Christine Falls’ and ‘The Silver Swan’ by Andrew Davies and ‘Elegy for April’ by Conor McPherson. Commissioned by Danny Cohen, Controller BBC One and Ben Stephenson, Controller Drama Commissioning.

John Banville says: “I am very excited by the prospect of seeing my character Quirke incarnated by Gabriel Byrne, a perfect choice for the part. I know both Quirke and Benjamin Black will be wonderfully served by Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson, two masters of their craft. “

John McColgan, Founding Director, Tyrone Productions adds: “As a friend and colleague of Gabriel Byrne over the years I am thrilled to see him bringing the brilliant mercurial character of Quirke as created by John Banville to screens worldwide. BBC Drama has brought an incredible pool of writing talent to this project and I’m looking forward to seeing their scripts going into production.”

Ed Guiney, Executive Producer, Element Pictures adds: “Noir Dublin in the 50’s seen through John Banville’s eyes is such an appealing prospect. And who better to go on the journey with than Gabriel Byrne. We could not be more excited about being part of bringing this to the screen with the BBC and Tyrone.”

James Hickey, Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board adds: “The Irish Film Board is delighted to be supporting Tyrone Productions and Element Pictures in this new drama TV series Quirke. The series will be a great opportunity to showcase Irish talent including Irish novelist Benjamin Black (John Banville), Irish screenwriter Conor McPherson and one of the great actors Gabriel Byrne in a quintessential Irish setting of Dublin in the 1950’s. The participation of the BBC in this wonderful Irish project is also greatly welcomed”.

The series is a co-production between BBC Drama Production and Dublin-based companies Element Pictures and Tyrone Productions. It is 3X 90 minutes and filming begins in Dublin later this year. The Executive Producers are Jessica Pope for the BBC, Ed Guiney for Element Pictures and Joan Egan for Tyrone Productions. Lisa Osborne is the BBC Producer and John Alexander is the director of the first film ‘Christine Falls’.

WHAT RICHARD DID SELECTED TO SCREEN AT 56TH BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL

Following on from last month’s announcement that WHAT RICHARD DID will screen at Toronto International Film festival, Element Pictures are delighted to announce that Lenny Abrahamson’s next feature has been selected to screen at the BFI London Film Festival this October.

WHAT RICHARD DID follows Richard Karlsen, golden-boy athlete and undisputed alpha-male of his privileged set of South Dublin teenagers, through the summer between the end of school and the beginning of university. The world is bright and everything seems possible, until one summer night Richard does something that destroys it all and shatters the lives of the people closest to him. Featuring extraordinary performances from its mainly young cast, WHAT RICHARD DID is a quietly devastating study of a boy confronting the gap between who he thought he was and who he proves to be.

Adapted from Kevin Power’s novel BAD DAY IN BLACKROCK and written by Malcolm Campbell (SKINS, SHAMELESS), WHAT RICHARD DID is the third film from acclaimed director Lenny Abrahamson, whose previous work includes GARAGE and ADAM & PAUL. The film features an ensemble of young Irish actors including Jack Reynor, Sam Keeley and Róisín Murphy as well as established talent including Lorraine Pilkington and Lars Mikkelsen (star of the Danish hit series, THE KILLING).

Director Lenny Abrahamson commented on the selection of his film, saying that “I’m delighted to have been invited to screen What Richard Did at this years’ London Film Festival. I discovered with my last film that the LFF is a real film makers’ festival which attracts great audiences so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Producer Ed Guiney added that “We are so proud of What Richard Did and thrilled that UK audiences will first get to see it at the wonderful LFF “

The 56th BFI London Film Festival will take place from October 10 – 21.

Find out more on Twitter and Facebook

WHAT RICHARD DID will be released in Irish Cinemas on October 5th.

The European Premiere of What Richard Did will screen as part of the Gala Closing Night Screening of IFI20, September’s month-long celebration of 20 years of the Irish Film Institute at its premises in Temple Bar, Dublin. Founded in 1943, the Irish Film Institute is Ireland’s national cultural institution for film. It provides audiences throughout Ireland with access to the finest independent, Irish and international cinema; it preserves and promotes Ireland’s moving image heritage through the IFI Irish Film Archive, and provides opportunities for audiences of all ages and backgrounds to learn and critically engage with film.