Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor are teaming up to play EF Benson’s notorious small-town social rivals Miss Elizabeth Mapp and Mrs Emmeline ‘Lucia’ Lucas in a new BBC adaptation by Steve Pemberton.
“I cannot wait to get my teeth into Mapp… and of course, Lucia!” said Ricahrdson, with Chancellor adding, “I hope I can do justice to EF Benson’s wonderful creations.”
The duo will be joined by Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss – playing Raj Army veteran Major Benjy – who called Benson’s tales of life “some of the most sly, funny and waspishly brilliant stories in the language.” He will reunite with his “old friend Steve” Pemberton who has written the adaptation and will play Georgie Pilson – Lucia’s “devoted acolyte and dapper chief courtier.”
“I’m doubly excited to be joined by Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor,” added Pemberton. “Both have proved themselves to be equally brilliant comic and dramatic actresses, and the thought of them going into battle as Mapp and Lucia is mouthwatering.
“The Channel 4 adaptation from the 1980s is what brought me to the books and I very much hope this new version will have a similar effect, turning a whole new readership on to EF Benson’s bitingly funny novels.”
The three-part comedy drama takes place in the summer of 1930 when Lucia decides to take a holiday in the charming historic town of Tilling. Also signed up to appear are Felicity Montagu (Bridget Jones’s Diary) as Godiva ‘Diva’ Plaistow, Gemma Whelan (Game of Trones) who will play Quaint Irene Coles the Disgrace of Tilling, Paul Ritter (Quantum of Solace) portraying Reverend Kenneth Bartlett and Katy Brand (Nanny McPhee Returns) who will appear as Hermione Pillson.
Completing the cast are Poppy Miller (The Commander) as Evie Bartlett, Nick Woodeson (Skyfall) playing Algernon Wyse, Pippa Haywood (Mr Selfridge) as his wife Susan Wyse and Silk’s Frances Barber who will appear as the vivacious Amelia, Contessa di Faraglione.
The series will begin shooting in Benson’s wartime home of Sussex this summer.