Murder mystery novel ‘The Beast Must Die’ is coming to BBC television


BBC is bringing Cecil Day-Lewis’ (pen name Nicholas Blake) 1938 mystery novel The Beast Must Die to life by adapting the stories of Nigel Strangeways into a television series.

According to Deadline, BBC has ordered a series based off Lewis’ novel The Beast Must Die with the plan to create a detective drama.

The novel’s plot tells the story of Frank Cairns, a writer whose young son has been tragically killed in a hit-and-run. Cairns initially plots a murderous revenge on his sons killer, but before he can enact his plan, the man he’s after turns up dead. Cairns is an immediate suspect, but he’s innocent and he feels like he’s been framed. Looking to prove his innocence, Cairns contacts and then actually ends up working with a private detective named Nigel Strangeways (that is a pretty cool name).

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While no episode-count has been announced, The Beast Must Die has strong potential to become a long series, as Lewis actually wrote sixteen books featuring the character of Strangeways and the several mysteries he is tasked with solving. No word out yet on who will play the lead.

The show will be written by Gaby Chiappe, who is no stranger when it comes to writing British crime dramas. Some of his works include ITV’s The Level and Vera and BBC’s Shetland.  British film and television company Free Scott London (creators of Taboo- starring Tom Hardy) will produce the series. Executive producer is set to be Nathaniel Parker.

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Interestingly enough, Cecil Day-Lewis is the father of actor Daniel Day-Lewis. He started out his career as an Anglo-Irish poet before dipping his toe into writing murder mysteries. At first, it was just a way to increase his income, but it turned out to do much more. His work still lives on today and will receive a whole new breath of life when The Beast Must Die debuts on BBC.

‘The Beast Must Die’ was one of Lewis’ most popular, successful works and he wrote the entire Strangeways series as Nicholas Blake.