Sherlock’s Andrew Scott to play villain in Swallows and Amazons film

Andrew Scott is to star as an antagonistic secret agent in BBC Films' adaptation of Arthur Ransome's classic childhood adventure

Forget Moriarty for the moment, Sherlock’s Andrew Scott is moving on to another villain in BBC Films’ adaptation of classic childhood adventure story Swallows and Amazons. 

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Directed by Call the Midwife’s Philippa Lowthorpe, Scott joins an impressive cast, including Black Mirror’s Rafe Spall, Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie, Boardwalk Empire’s Kelly Macdonald, W1A’s Jessica Hynes and comedian Harry Enfield. 

The BBC film is adapted from Arthur Ransome’s 1930 novel, which follows the Blackett and Walker children as they dream of escaping a summer holiday with their parents. They set off on a boat to camp on a remote island in the middle of a lake, but when they get there they soon discover they are not alone on the island. The children – in the book, at least – imagine a pirate villain out of Jim Turner, the Blackett’s unfriendly uncle who Ransome based on himself. 

For the adaptation, however, the filmmakers have drawn upon Ransome’s own life as an MI5 spy code named S.76, – who operated in Russia between 1914 and 1937 – and have added in the element of Scott’s character, an agent in pursuit of Rafe Spall’s reclusive and enigmatic Jim.

Alongside Scott, Hynes and Enfield will play farmers Mr and Mrs Jackson, while Christie and Macdonald will star as Mrs Blacknett and Mrs Walker, the mothers of the tale’s adventurous and imaginative children.

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The Walker and Blackett children themselves are set to be played by six young newcomers, including Lily Allen’s half-sister Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen. Teddie-Rose, who is Keith Allen and actress Tamzin Malleson’s daughter, will play Tatty Walker. Dane Hughes (John Walker), Orla Hill (Susan Walker), Bobby McColloch (Roger Walker), Seren Hawkes (Nancy Blackett) and Hannah Jayne Thorp (Peggy Blackett) make up the rest of the gang.