When is The Luminaries on TV? What’s it about and who stars in it?

Eleanor Catton is adapting her Man Booker Prize-winning novel into a six-part BBC2 drama

The Luminaries

Based on Eleanor Catton’s 2013 Man Booker Prize-winning novel, the long-awaited six-part series The Luminaries is set to star Casino Royale’s Eva Green, and has been adapted for television by Catton herself.


Here’s everything you need to know about the series, including cast, plot, air-date and trailer details…

When is The Luminaries on TV?

The series will air either in late 2019 or during 2020 on BBC2 in the UK.

What is The Luminaries about?

Eva Green in The Luminaries

Set on New Zealand’s South Island during the nineteenth-century gold rush, the story follows a large cast of characters — in the book, they’re variously associated with one of the Zodiac signs or planets within in the solar system.

The book begins with the arrival of Walter Moody, who believes he’s seen a “phantom” onboard a ship. Staggering into the smoking room of a hotel in Hokitika, he happens upon an odd assortment of twelve men, who are preoccupied with a series of dark, mysterious events…

According to the official synopsis, “The Luminaries tells an epic story of love, murder and revenge, as men and women travelled across the world to make their fortunes. It is a 19th century tale of adventure and mystery, set on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island in the boom years of the 1860s gold rush.

“The story follows defiant young adventurer Anna Wetherell, who has sailed from Britain to New Zealand to begin a new life. There she meets the radiant Emery Staines, an encounter that triggers a strange kind of magic that neither can explain. As they fall in love, driven together and apart by fateful coincidence, these star-crossed lovers begin to wonder: do we make our fortunes, or do our fortunes make us?”

Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries

It’s very different from the book, I can tell you that much,” series star Himesh Patel told RadioTimes.com in an interview at the South Bank Show Awards in July. “Eleanor Catton who wrote the novel and won the Man Booker for it, she adapted it herself, into six parts for BBC2. And she’s done such an amazing job of telling her story from a different point of view. And it was really interesting reading her novel and then reading what Eleanor’s done with it, and I’m very excited to see how it turns out.

“We spent five months in New Zealand shooting that. Such a beautiful country in so many ways, [I had a] really great time.

“It is really compelling what she’s done. It’s not like she’s ripping up the rule book, it’s her own work — it’s interesting when a writer has adapted her own novel.

On adapting her Man Booker-winning novel, Eleanor Catton said in a statement: “I’ve had tremendous fun adapting this novel for the screen and feel incredibly lucky to be working with such fantastic people across different art forms. Writing a novel is a solitary business, but writing for the screen is emphatically collaborative, and to see the world of The Luminaries enlarged and enriched in ways that go far beyond the scope of my own imagination has been a humbling and hugely exhilarating experience.

“I couldn’t be happier that the brilliant Claire McCarthy is at the helm, and I can’t wait to see this incredible cast bring the story to life.”

Who stars in The Luminaries?

The Luminaries

Bridge of Spies actress Eve Hewson (pictured left) plays adventurer Anna Wetherell, a much-liked sex worker living in Hokitika, opposite Himesh Patel (EastEnders), who plays Emery Staines.

Joining the cast are Casino Royale and Penny Dreadful star Eva Green, who plays the ruthless and calculating brothel madam Lydia Wells; The Cry actor Ewen Leslie as Crosbie Wells; and New Zealand actor Marton Csokas as Francis Carver.

Further cast includes Erik Thomson, Benedict Hardie, Yoson An and Richard Te Are.


Is there a trailer for The Luminaries?

Not yet — watch this space.