Ruth Rendell's Thirteen Steps Down

Series 1 - Episode 1

Ruth Rendell's Thirteen Steps Down
Radio Times
Review by:
Alison Graham

Rendell’s psychological thriller isn’t a comfortable fit with the demands of a two-part drama. What was allowed to unfold with almost leisurely slowness in the novel is hastily cut and pasted onto the screen. Which is jarring, because it’s about a descent into madness; Michael “Mix” Cellini (Luke Treadaway) is a troubled young man, the product of an abusive childhood, who is unhealthily obsessed by infamous mass murderer John Reginald Christie.

Cellini haunts Christie’s former neighbourhood in west London and lives close to the site of what was once Christie’s home at 10 Rillington Place in Notting Hill. Here he stalks a vapid model, Nerissa Nash, while concocting an elaborate fantasy world in his ultra-tidy room in his landlady’s (Geraldine James) dusty house. It’s all deeply odd. Thirteen Steps Down concludes next week.

About this programme

1/2. Two-part psychological thriller based on the novel, starring Luke Treadaway, Geraldine James, Gemma Jones and Elarica Gallacher. Notting Hill resident Mix Cellini has two dangerous obsessions - his hero, serial killer John Christie, and local supermodel Nerissa Nash. Mix is convinced he and Nerissa are in love and goes to extraordinary lengths to be close to her - but as his fixation grows more powerful, reality and fantasy blend - with disastrous results.

Cast and crew


Mix Cellini
Luke Treadaway
Gwendolen Chawcer
Geraldine James
Nerissa Nash
Elarica Gallacher
Gemma Jones
Anna Calder-Marshall
Colette Bamber
Melanie Gray
John Reginald Christie/Salah Baseyev
Mark Lambert
Tom Akwaa
Brian Bovell
Danila Kovic
Victoria Bewick
Hazel Akwaa
Carrie Crowley
Darel Jones
Sam O'Mahoney
Madame Odette
Maryam d'Abo
The Doctor
Gillian McCarthy
Peter Gaynor
Mrs Cellini
Tara Breathnach
Young Mix
James O'Donoghue
Internet cafe assistant
Danny McColgan
Pest controller
Dagmar Doring


Adapted By
Adrian Hodges
Marek Losey
Executive Producer
Alan Moloney
Executive Producer
Mary Callery
Executive Producer
Adrian Hodges
Neil Zeiger
Ruth Rendell