“Why is there no more magic done in England?”
No, it’s not the start of an election campaign speech, it’s the premise behind Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Based on the Susanna Clarke novel, the new BBC1 fantasy drama imagines a magical re-awakening in 19th-century England.
Eddie Marsan plays the reclusive, “tolerable, practical magician” Mr Norrell, while Bertie Carvel, seen in Channel 4’s Babylon and BBC2’s The Wrong Mans, plays magical hopeful Jonathan Strange. Set to In the Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg, the trailer is a fun glimpse of this mash-up of magic and the Industrial Revolution.
Marc Warren (Musketeers), Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures) and Samuel West (Mr Selfridge, W1A) also appear, with wonderful names like “the gentleman with the Thistle-Down Hair.”
Directed by Toby Haynes – whose credits include Sherlock and Doctor Who – Clarke’s novel is being adapted by Wallander writer Peter Harness, who also wrote the Peter Capaldi adventure Kill the Moon from the Doctor’s last series. If that’s anything to go by, this is going to be very, very weird.