The long-awaited adaptation of The Luminaries is “coming soon” to BBC One – and RadioTimes.com can exclusively unveil the stunning series artwork.
To the left and right of the image are a pair of young lovers, Anna Wetherell and Emery Staines, played by Eve Hewson and Himesh Patel. While they face each other and look into each other’s eyes, there is a woman standing between them who is looking directly at us; this is Lydia Wells (Eva Green).
The six-part drama is an “epic adventure mystery” set on New Zealand’s South Island at the height of the 1860s gold rush. Billed as “an intricately woven, suspenseful tale of love, murder, magic, and revenge,” it’s based on Eleanor Catton’s 2013 Man Booker prize-winning novel of the same name.
And for fans of The Luminaries, there are plenty of other significant details to spot in this newly-released series artwork.
Most obviously, the constellations of the zodiac can be seen in a halo behind Lydia’s head at the very centre of the image. The constellations are crucial to the structure and the characters of the original story, and fans will be curious to see how this translates from page to screen.
In addition, the main colour in the logo and on the costumes is gold – that all-important precious metal which inspired the gold rush. And in the background you can see the rugged shores of New Zealand and a ship coming in from the sea.
Catton has adapted her own novel for the screen, while Claire McCarthy directs. And while The Luminaries was originally commissioned for BBC Two, the drama has now been moved to BBC One where it will likely attract a wider audience.
The story begins in 1865 with the arrival of Anna Wetherell (Hewson) in New Zealand. She has travelled there to forge a new life, and on the final day of her voyage, she has a romantic first encounter with Emery Staines (Patel) which fills her with great excitement and anticipation.
However, when she arrives, scheming fortune-teller Lydia Wells (Green) has other ideas for her and lays a trap to ensure that Anna cannot reunite with Emery as planned.
As the BBC puts it: “Deceived, swindled, and betrayed, Anna’s fortunes begin to fall. She is drawn into an elaborate plot of blackmail, involving opium, gold, shipwreck, fraud, and false identity, which ultimately finds her framed for murder and fighting for her life.
“But the bond between these star-crossed lovers is more than mere affinity. Anna and Emery are what is known as ‘astral twins’: they were born at the very same instant, and under the very same sky, which means that they share a single destiny.
“When Emery vanishes without a trace, leaving Anna without an alibi for a murder she did not commit, the noose of the plot begins to tighten around her. Faced with the impossible, she must ask: do we make our fortunes, or does fortune make us?”
The Luminaries is coming soon to BBC One. While you’re waiting, visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.