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China Miéville’s 'The City & The City' To Be Adapted By The BBC, David Morrissey To Star

By Petr Knava | Industry | April 18, 2017 |

By Petr Knava | Industry | April 18, 2017 |

Continuing the trend of Great Genre Fiction Being Adapted For Television, it has been announced that the BBC will be adapting China Miéville’s fantastic novel, ‘The City & The City’, into a four-part television series.

English writer Miéville is one of the science fiction and fantasy world’s brightest contemporary lights, with his works over the years having won or been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus, Arthur C. Clarke, and British Fantasy awards.

While books like ‘Perdido Street Station’, ‘The Scar’, and ‘The Iron Council’ are expansive and on the whole extremely well put together works of world-building, there is something about Miéville’s 2009 noir-tinged ‘The City & The City’ that makes it stand out among his oeuvre. Ostensibly a detective story about a post-Soviet-style state, the relatively compact novel broadens its symbolic scope as it goes on, eventually providing an extremely potent metaphor for humanity’s capacity for wilful blindness and submission to authority.

The BBC adaptation, to be written by Tony Grisoni — of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas and The Young Pope fame — and directed by Tom Shankland — who counts episodes of The Missing and House Of Cards among his work — will star David Morrissey as ‘The City & The City”s protagonist, Inspector Tyador Borlú, of the Extreme Crime Squad, who stumbles upon a murder in a run-down part of the city-state of Besźel.

One of the great pleasures of the novel is the discovery of its world and the slow, gradual understanding of how everything works, so I will not say much more here, except that — as anyone who has read it will attest — to try and imagine how Besźel and its parallel sister-city-of-sorts, Ul Qoma, will be depicted on screen is a mouth-watering prospect.

According to Digital Spy, the man himself, China Miéville himself cannot wait:

It’s been fascinating and moving to witness the translation from fiction to script, and to work with Tony and Tom (Shankland) and everyone on this production.

What they’re making feels both familiar, sending me right back to the book, and yet very much their own, something I’m eager to discover. I’m extremely impatient for it!

The City & The City is currently in production.


Petr Knava
lives in London and plays music

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Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.