Light-hearted murder mysteries are all the rage right now.


With The Marlow Murder Club and a new season of Beyond Paradise dropping already this year, and Richard Osman’s star-studded film The Thursday Murder Club recently announced, you can’t escape sleepy village drama on the small screen.

Now, recent BAFTA winner Timothy Spall is getting in on the action - having been announced as the lead of new BBC comedy Death Valley.

Wicked Little Letters’ Spall will star as "eccentric national treasure John Chapel", according to the synopsis, "a retired actor and star of hit fictional detective TV show Caesar", and will join forces with Gwyneth Keyworth’s disarming detective sergeant Janie Mallowan to solve a case of the week.

Set in Wales, Death Valley will follow the unlikely crime-solving partnership as they work together - and annoy each other, in classic odd couple fashion - to get to the bottom of "gripping murders".

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The synopsis continues: "Thrown together by the murder of John’s neighbour, John and Janie are an odd yet hilarious duo with opposing instincts.

"Every week, they get to the bottom of gripping murders, with various stunning Welsh locations providing a backdrop to their investigations.

"When John and Janie are not arguing about a case, they’re inevitably up in each other’s personal business. Despite their differences, they soon realise they are the closest thing each other has to a best friend, and unwittingly help one another move on from the past."

Timothy Spall wearing a suit, with his hands clasped
Timothy Spall in The Sixth Commandment. ITV

Written and created by Paul Doolan (Mammoth, Trollied), the project marks a shift away from the more heavy-hitting drama Spall took home the Best Actor BAFTA for, The Sixth Commandment.

Explaining his decision to join the series, he said: "I’m relishing the prospect of getting stuck in as we embark on creating this truly oddball detective duo who develop their unusual combined eccentric skills to hilarious and surprisingly successful effect in beautiful rural Wales and its gorgeous towns and villages.

"I’m really looking forward to teaming up with the brilliant Gwyneth Keyworth and the fantastically talented team of creatives and technicians on this new and unique comedy drama."

Jon Petrie, director of comedy at the BBC, added: "This series has all the hallmarks of a BBC Comedy classic; it’s the perfect comedy drama caper which never forgets the funny. We feel thoroughly spoiled to have such a wonderful cast on board."

No release date has yet been announced, with filming set to begin in Wales next month, but it will arrive on BBC Two, BBC One Wales and BBC iPlayer once production wraps.

Death Valley is coming to BBC Two and iPlayer soon.


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