Rowan Atkinson to play Jules Maigret in two ITV films

Posted on 20th Feb 2015

Blackadder and Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson is making a return to television to play Belgian author Georges Simenon’s pipe-smoking policeman, Jules Maigret, in two new films for ITV.

There was speculation last year that Atkinson was considering the role, which Michael Gambon took on for ITV in the early 1990s.

Atkinson has mostly concentrated on films over the past two decades, particularly with his characters Mr Bean and Johnny English, with his last regular television appearance being in Ben Elton’s short-lived BBC police comedy The Thine Blue Line in the mid-1990s.

However, Atkinson said he had been a fan of Maigret for a long time: “I have been a devourer of the Maigret novels for many years and I’m very much looking forward to playing such an intriguing character, at work in Paris during a fascinating period in its history.”

ITV’s director of television Peter Fincham said: “Maigret is a prestigious commission and we’re delighted to be working with Maigret Productions, Ealing Studios and Rowan Atkinson, to bring these stories to screen for our viewers.”

Set in 1950s Paris, the first of the two 120-minute films – Maigret Sets a Trap and Maigret’s Dead Man – will go into production in September 2015, produced by Ealing Studios and Maigret Productions Ltd – a Peters Fraser Dunlop Group (PFD) company.

It was announced by PFD three years ago that a new version of Maigret was on the cards – spurred on by the popularity of European crime fighters such as Danish detective Sarah Lund in The Killing and Swedish sleuth Wallander, played by Kenneth Branagh in the British version.

Around 800m Simenon books have been sold globally and the merged PFD and The Rights House snapped up the rights to the prolific author from previous owner Chorion in 2011.

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