ITV has finally announced a date for its airing of its new feature-length adaptation of Maigret. The two-hour film Maigret Sets a Trap will be shown on the Easter weekend, while a second one, Maigret’s Dead Man, will follow shortly thereafter. It’s aimed at filling a Poirot or Foyle-shaped hole in our nostalgic crime TV schedules.
There was a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it Marmite reaction when Rowan Atkinson was announced as the new Maigret, but he could be an interesting choice if unusual choice. He certainly looks the part. Not quite as tall and portly as the revered French Maigrets of Jean Gabin or Bruno Cremer, Atkinson looks uncharacteristically grave in his period suit, teeth firmly clamped on a pipe. His frown means business, but will it be enough to expunge Mr Bean and Johnny English from our memories? France 3 was one of the first foreign networks to snap up this adaptation, so we shall soon see what they make of him on Maigret’s home turf. You can judge for yourself watching the trailer below.
The trailer shows shabby-chic locations we have come to associate with 1950s Paris, although it was filmed in Budapest. You can look forward to a wealth of lovingly-recreated period detail. Heritage drama is something which ITV has done exceptionally well to date, and the channel hopes to continue this success with Maigret. The voiceover states: ‘Their only link… that they were walking through Montmartre after dark. And there were no witnesses. He makes no mistakes.’ As per Georges Simenon’s story, a serial killer troubles the iconic Inspector Maigret, and the only way he can hope to catch him is with female bait.
Written by Stewart Harcourt (who has also adapted Marple for TV) and co-starring Fiona Shaw, Aiden McCardle, Shaun Dingwall, Lucy Cohu, Leo Starr, Rufus Wright, Hugh Simon and many other household names, it’s certainly a show we are awaiting impatiently.