Talks over new TV detective series set in Bath
Talks are under way with broadcasters over a TV detective series set in Bath during Jane Austen’s time.
Eight one-hour episodes have been written for the series, filming for which could begin in the city next year.
The Regency Detective has been created by Bath-based scriptwriters David Lassman and Terence James and is billed as showing the darker side of the period.
It would be set in the period between 1800 and 1805 when Austen lived in the city, and the writer may make a cameo appearance in an episode.
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Although Bath is often used in film and TV dramas, this would only be the second time in recent years that it has been the location for a whole series, after the six-part Bonekickers drama in 2008.
It would be directed by Giles Foster, whose previous credits includes Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, the award-winning Hotel Du Lac and Four Seasons, a mini-series shot in his home city of Bath last year.
The series revolves around ex-Bow Street Runner Jack Swann, who moves from London to Bath and each week confronts the city’s villains.
Before creating The Regency Detective, Mr James was at ITV working on such programmes as The Avengers, Randall & Hopkirk and Jamaica Inn.
He said: “Swann is the Darcy of detectives - but combined with the intellectual appeal of Morse, the sardonic wit of Cracker and the analytical deduction skills of Holmes.
“His back story is quite unique and this allows him to go between both the dark underside and the genteel side that we all know and love from the Austen adaptations.”
Co-creator Mr Lassman, an acknowledged expert on Jane Austen and the Regency era who is in charge of marketing for city’s Jane Austen Centre, said: “Regency Bath is usually viewed through rose-tinted glasses. The Regency Detective allows an audience to see the darker reality of the period.”
Specialist agency the Independent Talent Group is in the process of finding a production company to bring the vision to life.
Mr Lassman said: “We hope that Swann will do for Bath what Morse did for Oxford. Everyone who has read the scripts says the series is a winner and the Bath Film Office is very enthusiastic.”
Jenni Wagstaffe, film commissioner at the council-run office, added: “We are always delighted to receive proposals for quality Bath-based TV series. One of our key aims is to attract mainstream drama productions to our area, as they not only bring direct economic benefits but are great for tourism as well. As a very film-friendly city, we will be giving Terence and David our wholehearted support with their project.”
Mr Foster said: “The script Terence and David sent me to read was a genuine page-turner. The fact the series is set in Bath is also very attractive, as I grew up here and love the city.”
Casting would take place later in the year and there could also be novel versions of the series.