BritBox announces four new originals including Irvine Welsh’s Crime and Magpie Murders adaptation

The four new programmes also include a limited series titled A Spy Among Friends - based on Ben Macintyre's best-selling novel of the same name.

Irvine Welsh

Up till now BritBox has been more notable for the slew of archive content it has made available – but the streaming service has today announced an exciting slate of upcoming originals, including works based on novels by Anthony Horowitz and Irvine Welsh.


The four new programmes include a limited series titled A Spy Among Friends – based on Ben Macintyre’s best-selling novel of the same name, in addition to The Beast Must Die, Magpie Murders and Crime, the latter of which marks the first TV adaptation by Irvine Welsh.

The Beast Must Die is a five-part revenge thriller set to star Jared Harris (Mad Men, Chernobyl), Cush Jumbo  (The Good Wife), Billy Howle (MotherFatherSon) and Nathaniel Parker (Vanity Fair) and follows a grieving mother who infiltrates the life of the man she believes killed her son.

It is to be be directed by Dome Karukoski (Tolkien, Tom of Finland) and is based on a novel by Nicholas Blake.

Marina Brackenbury, a producer on the series said, “The Beast Must Die is both intensely emotional and thrilling, with a fresh and exciting psychology at play between all the characters; Dome and our stellar cast each bring a very personal take to the material which – along with our partners New Regency, BritBox and Nathaniel Parker – we feel will undoubtedly translate as a must see for audiences.”

Crime will see Irvine Welsh adapt his own novel of the same name, with Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible 2) starring as detective inspector Ray Lennox, who is investigating the disappearance of a schoolgirl while battling his own personal demons.

Welsh said, “Delighted that BritBox have picked this up. Lennox is a compelling character for me, not so much a cop as a broken avenging angel. So don’t expect a run of the mill cop show, and nonces beware.”

Magpie Murders is adapted from the bestseller written by Anthony Horowitz – which has been described as “a magnificent piece of crime fiction” and “an ingenious novel within a novel” by The Sunday Times.

Anthony Horowitz
Anthony Horowitz
Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

The series is described by BritBox as a “beguiling murder mystery with a solution that will both astonish and shock viewers” and  revolves around an editor who is given an unfinished manuscript of author Alan Conway’s latest novel, but has little idea it will change her life.

Anthony Horowitz said, “Magpie Murders is my most successful novel and it wasn’t easy to adapt. But I think the result is a completely original drama that will delight and beguile audiences in equal measure.”

Speaking about the new slate, Reemah Sakaan, the Chief Creative & Brand Officer at BritBox Global said:  “BritBox Originals need to be bold, bingeable and distinctively British.

“Creating this exceptional roll call of talent, stories and productions in our first drama slate to add exclusively to the treasure trove of BritBox boxsets from every UK PSB is something no one else can do, we can’t wait to bring them to subscribers.’


Kevin Lygo, ITV’s Director of Television added, “BritBox stands for the best of British and with this high calibre slate of Original Drama commissions, we are bringing the very best of UK creative talent to a UK streamer for the first time.”

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