Classic sleuth Maigret is back on screens this Easter in a new ITV film starring Rowan Atkinson.
Georges Simenon’s French detective appeared in a whopping 75 novels and 28 short stories between 1931 and 1972, and has previously been played by the likes of Michael Gambon, Richard Harris and Rupert Davies.
Atkinson has already starred in the Easter film Maigret Sets a Trap and Maigret's Dead Man and will reprise his role in Maigret's Night at the Crossroads on Easter Sunday. ITV have already signed him up for another further film following the French detective – Maigret in Montmatre – which is expected to air at some point later this year.
But first, Maigret's Night at the Crossroads, in which Atkinson is joined by an impressive cast of familiar screen faces.
Here’s our guide to who’s who, and where you might have seen them before.
Rowan Atkinson – Chief Inspector Maigret
Comedy legend Atkinson – best known for his iconic roles as Edmund Blackadder and Mr Bean – may seem an unlikely choice to play the pipe-smoking chief inspector. But if you think he’s donning Maigret’s trilby “in order to achieve some kind of respectability”, think again, the 61-year-old told Radio Times this week.
The County Durham-born star started performing as a student with the Oxford Revue, before finding fame as one quarter of the Not the Nine O’Clock News team, along with Pamela Stephenson, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones.
He wrote the first series of The Black Adder with Richard Curtis, before Ben Elton replaced him as co-writer for Blackadder II, Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Goes Forth. He first played Mr Bean in 1990 and, following numerous TV series and two feature films, still voices the animated version of the character today.
Atkinson made a memorable appearance as a bumbling vicar in Richard Curtis’ Four Wedding and a Funeral, and later fronted Ben Elton’s police sitcom, The Thin Blue Line.
This isn’t his first ‘straight’ drama role: in 2013, he starred in Simon Gray’s Quartermaine’s Terms in the West End, and his CBE in that year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours was awarded for “services to drama and charity”.
Shaun Dingwall – Inspector Janvier
Shaun Dingwall – who plays one of the trusted colleagues Maigret calls ‘The Faithful Four’ – already has plenty of police hours under his belt, having played DC Mark Rivers in three series of Paul Abbott’s Touching Evil, DI Mike Lewis in Lynda La Plante’s Above Suspicion, and a detective super on New Tricks.
Away from the force, he’s best known for portraying the father of two iconic TV characters: he was Rose Tyler’s dad Pete on Doctor Who, and a young Del Boy’s old man in Only Fools and Horses prequel Rock & Chips.
Aidan McCardle – Judge Comeliau
A judge who becomes Maigret’s rival over the course of several books, Comeliau is here played by Irish actor Aidan McCardle, most recently seen as Lord Loxley in Mr Selfridge.
Prior to that, he’d carved out a niche playing real historical characters, including lawyer John Silvester in Garrow’s Law, Dudley Moore in the TV biopic Not Only But Always, plus John the Baptist, Richard Sheridan, Igor Stravinsky and Albert Einstein (twice).
He also played Andy, the lead character’s dad (and Olivia Colman’s husband) in Jonathan Harvey’s comedy drama Beautiful People, while his extensive stage credits include the title role in the RSC’s Richard III.
Ian Puleston Davies – Inspector Colombani
Ian Puleston Davies is probably best known to viewers as Owen Armstrong – resident of Coronation Street's cobbles between 2010 and 2015. But since leaving the soap last year, he's bagged a string of top roles, appearing in ITV's Beowulf and Marcella before popping up in Channel 4 drama National Treasure.
And his post-Corrie career looks set to go from strength to strength, with a role in Sky's big-budget Tin Star next year alongside the likes of Tim Roth and Christina Hendricks.
In Maigret's Dead Man he plays Inspector Colombani – the policeman heading up an investigation into a mysterious string of brutal farmhouse break-ins.
Lucy Cohu – Mme Maigret
The latest in a long line of actresses to play Maigret’s wife, Lucy Cohu made her name as Major Jessica Bailey in Soldier, Soldier. She was nominated for both a Bafta and an Emmy for her portrayal of Princess Margaret in Channel 4’s 2005 biopic The Queen’s Sister. She would later take home an Emmy for her role in true-life drama Forgiven.
Cohu co-starred with David Morrissey in Cape Wrath, a C4 drama about a family trying to escape their past, appeared in the BBC’s adaptation of Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes, starring Emma Watson, and played Alice Carter – daughter of John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness – in mini-series Torchwood: Children of Earth. Her most prominent recent role was as Tess Hanchard, David Tennant’s ex-wife in Broadchurch.
Leo Staar – Inspector LaPointe
Another member of Maigret’s “Faithful Four”, Inspector LaPointe is played by Leo Staar, best known as Jenny Lee’s ill-fated boyfriend Alec Jesmond in Call the Midwife. (Remember when he died after that fall? It was a tearjerker, even by CTM’s standards.)
Since then, he’s appeared in Casualty, Death in Paradise and Lewis, where hopefully he picked up a few tips about this police inspector business from Kevin Whately.