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Mark Gatiss story for UKTV’s Alibi

From The Savoy Hotel in London, Mark Gatiss presents a gong at the annual Sky Arts South Bank Show Awards ceremony / Sky


Mark Gatiss story for UKTV’s Alibi

UKTV’s catalogue of original drama continues to grow, with the commission of six-part series, Bookish…

The 70 minute episodes will air on UKTV’s specialist crime drama channel Alibi.

Helen Perry, head of drama for UKTV:

“UKTV is the home for writers’ passion projects, and we are so proud to be working with the exceptionally talented Mark Gatiss on his, along with the effervescent team at Eagle Eye. Mark’s unique detective thriller is full of wit and heart, with a central platonic love story that is sure to enthral audiences. And because Book is a gay man, at a time when it was illegal to be so, we are proud that the drama shines a light on an important LGBTQ+ story. The star-studded cast Eagle Eye have already put together is tribute to the sure-fire hit Bookish is to become.”

The UKTV original series has been created by Emmy Award-winning writer Mark Gatiss (The League of Gentlemen, Sherlock, Nolly) and is produced by Eagle Eye Drama. Gatiss writes and stars as the erudite and unconventional Gabriel Book who, from his antiquarian bookshop, helps the police to solve a variety of mysterious crimes. With three main cases in the series, each storyline spans two-episode instalments. The series will air on Alibi in 2025.

Mark Gatiss:

“To misquote Goodfellas: “All my life I’ve wanted to be a detective!” I couldn’t be more excited to be bringing this series to the screen, and to plunge viewers into our intoxicating version of post-War London. It’s an under-examined time and an under-examined world and Bookish is the strange, funny and thrilling show that I’ve always wanted to make.”

Mark Gatiss as Larry Grayson in ITV drama ‘Nolly’ / Quay St Productions

Starring alongside Mark Gatiss will be Polly Walker (Bridgerton, Line of Duty) who plays Book’s colourful wife Trottie. Bookish will also feature a wealth of guest stars, including Joely Richardson (The Gentleman, The Ballad of Renegade Nell), Daniel Mays (The Long Shadow, Code 404) and Jonas Nay (Deutschland 83, Concordia). Other returning core cast members include Connor Finch as Jack, Olivier award-winner Elliot Levey as Inspector Bliss and Buket Kömür as Nora.

London, 1946 is the dynamic, dangerous and chaotic setting for this stylish new detective drama, with the eccentric Gabriel Book (Gatiss) at the very heart of the story: a self-appointed consultant detective to the local police. The thousands of books that line the shelves of his shop provide him with all the knowledge he needs.

Book has gathered around him a host of lovable, damaged misfits whom he informally protects, cajoles, and mentors. His wife Trottie (Walker) runs the wallpaper shop next door. She’s a charismatic adventuress whom Book loves deeply but not physically, for they are in a ‘lavender’ marriage to help conceal Book’s sexual orientation in a time when it was illegal to be gay.

Bookish marries post-war nostalgia with the reckless and life-affirming atmosphere of the times, creating a fast-paced and stylish detective drama. The series is being produced in association with Happy Duck Films and is supported by the Belgian Tax Shelter.

Gatiss recently starred as Larry Grayson in ITV drama Nolly about television pioneer and theatre star Noele Gordon. The series aired in December in the UK and last month aired on American television where Gatiss, and leading performer Helena Bonham Carter, gained rave reviews.

Speaking to PBS Masterpiece about portraying Larry Grayson, Mark observed:

“I think he’s just wonderful and a really fascinating man. It was just a delightful experience” adding, “In playing the part, I watched so much stuff, and it gave me a new appreciation of just how masterful he was—with just a little look to camera [makes a knowing, campy face] and a tiny little raised eyebrow—it’s absolutely filthy! It’s filthy, but he gets away with it. And there’s a point where he’s completely in control of his audience.”

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