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 starred in two previous adaptations, Maigret Sets a Trap and Maigret's Dead Man, and reprised his role in Maigret's Night at the Crossroads, first aired in 2017 and getting a repeat showing in 2020.
Maigret's Night at the Crossroads sees Atkinson 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”.
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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.
Tom Wlaschiha – Carl Andersen
A wealthy Danish man living at the Three Widows Crossroads, Carl shares a home with his sister, Else. But the aloof pair attract attention when a diamond merchant – Isaac Goldberg – is found dead in their neighbour, Emile Michonnet’s, garage. The body is at the wheel of Carl’s car leading Maigret to question whether the Andersens are caught up in his death...
German actor Tom is best known for playing Jaqen H’ghar in the second, fifth and sixth seasons of Game of Thrones – although it remains to be seen whether he’ll play a part in the new run this summer. Besides Thrones, Wlaschiha has appeared in a string of German productions and stars as Kommissar Sebastian Berger in crime series Crossing Lines.
Mia Jexen – Else Andersen
The glamorous sister of Carl, Else proves a distraction for the fastidious – and married – Maigret who can’t help but notice the alluring Danish woman. Living with her brother at the crossroads, Else gets caught up in the investigation into Goldberg’s killing. Is she as innocent as she makes out?
Danish actress Mia Jexen is best known for playing PC Ingrid Witry in Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude set in wintry Scandinavia. After attending drama school in the UK, she spent several years starring in Denmark’s hit TV series 2900 Happiness.
Kevin McNally – Inspector Louis Grandjean
Grandjean joins Rowan Atkinson’s Maigret in his attempts to track down the real killer of Isaac Goldberg.
Kevin McNally may be familiar to Pirates of the Caribbean fans thanks to his portrayal of Joshamee Gibbs in all four films – he also has a role in the fifth, due for release later this year. An actor for more than 40 years, he has cropped up in many projects, both in film and television. He is married to Downton Abbey actress Phyllis Logan who played Mrs Hughes in the ITV drama.
Colin Mace – Inspector Lognon
Nicknamed “the ungracious inspector”, Lognon represents a promotion for Colin Mace, who’s earlier this year played a detective sergeant in BBC Three kidnap drama Thirteen.
Other recent credits include Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, Cradle to Grave, Call the Midwife, Foyle’s War and The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies.
Christopher Bowen – Inspector Lefors
Playing yet another Inspector (there are clearly no staff shortages at the Paris Brigade Criminelle), Christopher Bowen’s extensive TV credits include Doctor Who (he was evil knight Mordred in Sylvester McCoy story Battlefield), Parade’s End, Jane Eyre, Lewis and Agatha Christie’s Poirot.
He was a naval commander in the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, and also played Prince Charles in a TV movie based on James Hewitt’s book Princess in Love.
Mark Heap – Moers
Police pathologist Moers is brought to life by Mark Heap, best known for his work in an impressive portfolio of classic British comedies. He was Brian, the introverted artist in Spaced, pompous doctor Alan Statham in Green Wing (pictured), strait-laced Terry in Paul Whitehouse’s Happiness and infatuated neighbour Jim in Friday Night Dinner. He has been a regular collaborator with Chris Morris, made a memorable guest appearance as a psychiatrist on Miranda, and played Charles Dickens in the BBC drama Desperate Romantics.
Films include About a Boy, Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Stardust and The World’s End.
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