Months after a new adaptation of Sir Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus novels was announced, the lead role has now been cast – with Richard Rankin picking up the mantle.


Rankin (no relation to Sir Ian), best known for playing Roger Wakefield in Outlander, will play John Rebus in the series from Viaplay, with this being the streamer's first UK drama commission, and will simply be titled Rebus.

The six-part series is set to start filming in Scotland next month and will stream on Viaplay in 2024, and further castings will be announced soon.

Ken Stott and Gayanne Potter in ITV's Rebus.
Ken Stott as DI John Rebus and Gayanne Potter as DS Siobhan Clarke in ITV's Rebus. ITV

Richard Rankin said: "I’m thrilled to be taking on the role of Rebus. I’m a big fan of the series and Sir Ian Rankin. I feel very lucky to be given the honour of bringing such an iconic Scottish character back to TV screens and will give all I have to do it justice."

Sir Ian Rankin added: "Rebus has been a big part of my life for a long time now and to work with Gregory Burke to create a new story that sees him navigate life as a younger man in a contemporary (and ever-changing) Scotland has been a truly fascinating process.

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"I’m very much looking forward to watching Richard bring the character to life – he’s the perfect fit for the role, and not just because we coincidentally share the same surname!"

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This new series follows a previous adaptation of the Rebus books which aired on ITV between 2000 and 2007. The title role was first played by John Hannah, although he was replaced by Ken Stott from season 2.

The official synopsis for the new series, which will reportedly be a "fresh and thrilling offering in the high-end crime genre", says: "The compelling new story follows 40-year-old police detective John Rebus (Richard Rankin), who finds himself at a psychological crossroads following an altercation with an infamous Edinburgh gangster.

"At odds with a job increasingly driven by corporate technocrats, involved in a toxic affair he knows he needs to end, and all but supplanted in his daughter’s life by his ex-wife’s wealthy new husband, Rebus begins to wonder if he still has a role to play – either as a family man or a police officer.

"In a world of divisive politics and national discord, does the law still have meaning, or is everyone reverting to an older set of rules? And if so, why shouldn’t Rebus do so too?"

The original Rebus series is available to watch now on BritBox – you can sign up to BritBox with a 7-day free trial here, while you can purchase Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus novels on Amazon.

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