Rowan Atkinson to star in new ITV adaptation of Maigret

The Mr Bean and Blackadder actor is set to play the famous French detective Jules Maigret in two stand-alone dramas

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He’s best known as bumbling Mr Bean or calculating Edmund Blackadder, but Rowan Atkinson is swapping comedy for drama in a new detective show.

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ITV has announced a new adaptation of George Simenon’s novels about Parisian sleuth Jules Maigret. The books were originally adapted by the BBC in the 1960s, before Michael Gambon stepped into the detective’s shoes in an ITV version in 1992.

Atkinson will now play Maigret in two stand-alone, 120-minute films for the channel. Both dramas will be set in 1950s Paris, with screenwriter Stewart Harcourt adapting the books Maigret Sets a Trap and Maigret’s Dead Man.

Atkinson said, “I have been a devourer of the Maigret novels for many years and I’m very much looking forward to playing such an intriguing character, at work in Paris during a fascinating period in its history.”

The novelist’s son John Simenon has given Atkinson his backing, saying: “Maigret has been part of our family for almost nine decades, and we are bringing together one of the best-known characters in world literature with one of the greatest international stars.

“I have no doubt my father, like me, would have approved of Rowan’s casting and been very excited to see him inhabit his most renowned creation.”

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Ealing Studios and Maigret Productions Ltd will produce the drama, with filming set to begin in September 2015.

Watch: exclusive clip of Rowan Atkinson recording Mr Bean