Following the success of Neil Gaiman adaptations Neverwhere and Good Omens (the latter co-written with the late Terry Pratchett), Radio 4 has announced that another of the offbeat author’s books is in the works as a special audio play this winter – Stardust, previously brought to audiences in a 2007 film starring Claire Danes and Robert De Niro.
Adapted by Neverwhere and Good Omens director Dirk Maggs, the two-part drama will follow the story of Tristran Thorn, a young man on Earth who ends up crossing to a magical dimension to seek a fallen star for the woman he loves.
Upon finding it, however, Tristran realises that the star has become a young woman called Yvaine – and with other star-hunters on their tail, the pair must band together to travel the land of Fairie and escape the danger.
As the official release goes on:
Encountering Little Hairy Men, witches, and lightning-hunting sky pirates along the way, Tristran is about to uncover the secret to his own identity and a fate beyond his wildest dreams at his journey’s end.
The full-cast audio drama will star Matthew Beard (The Imitation Game) as Tristran and Sophie Rundle (Happy Valley) as Yvaine, with other stars including Charlotte Riley, Frances Barber, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Kevin Eldon, Paul Kaye, Aisling Loftus, Blake Ritson, Eleanor Bron, Maggie Steed, Alex McQueen and Nicholas Boulton.
The programme will air this December, presumably filling the same festive slot as Good Omens in 2014 – though this time it won’t be alone, with fellow Gaiman adaptation How The Marquis Got His Coat Back (based on a short story set in the same world as Neverwhere and also adapted by Dirk Maggs, centre left below) set to debut a mere month before.
The cast and production team of How The Marquis Got His Coat Back
As RadioTimes.com reported earlier this year, the one-off drama will see Paterson Joseph star as the titular Marquis de Carabas, a character from Neverwhere who goes in search of his legendary garment only to encounter obstacles on the way.
Interestingly, Joseph previously played the Marquis in the 1996 TV drama version of Neverwhere that Gaiman created with Lenny Henry (only later reimagining it as a book), while Bernard Cribbins will return from the cast of the 2013 radio adaptation as Old Bailey.
Other cast members confirmed by Radio 4 include Adrian Lester (Hustle), Don Warrington (Rising Damp, Doctor Who) and Mitch Benn (The Now Show, Good Omens), with two more “surprise cameos” also apparently planned that could possibly see the return of cast from either the TV or radio versions of the story (potentially including Peter Capaldi, James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch or Natalie Dormer). For now, as with specific airdates for either programme, it’s still a mystery.
But in the meantime there is something Gaiman fans can do to while away the weeks until the new adaptations, with Radio 4 also announcing a competition to find designs for official Stardust artwork to accompany the drama.
Budding artists in two categories (13-16 and 17+) can submit their drawings via the Radio 4 website from today, with the competition closing on Wednesday 26th October. The two winners will be picked by artist Sean Phillips, Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, Stardust cast member Sophie Rundle and Radio 4 drama commissioner Jeremy Howe, and will have their artwork used as official episode images while also receiving other special prizes. For more details, click here.
How The Marquis Got His Coat Back and Stardust will air on BBC Radio 4 this November and December