MASTERPIECE PBS has commissioned Mammoth Screen to make a “major new reimagining” of John Galsworthy’s Forsyte novels.

Planned as a returning series, the first season of six episodes follows the lives of the wealthy Forsyte family in 1880s London and is based on Galsworthy’s Nobel Prize-winning tale of love, loyalty, ambition and betrayal.

The Forsyte Saga reunites MASTERPIECE with British screenwriter Debbie Horsfield and UK production company Mammoth Screen, the team behind global television hit Poldark.

The ensemble cast includes Francesca Annis, Jack Davenport, Tom Durant Pritchard, Jamie Flatters, Millie Gibson, Danny Griffin, Susan Hampshire, Owen Igiehon, Tuppence Middleton, Stephen Moyer, Joshua Orpin, Josette Simon and Eleanor Tomlinson.

BAFTA winner Francesca Annis (Flesh and Blood) plays Forsyte matriarch Ann, with Stephen Moyer (Sexy Beast,True Blood) as her eldest son, Jolyon Senior, head of the family stockbroking firm Forsyte & Co. Danny Griffin (Fate: The Winx Saga) plays his bohemian son Jo, Tuppence Middleton (Downton Abbey: A New Era) is Jo’s status-driven wife Frances, and Eleanor Tomlinson (One Day) plays Louisa Byrne, a Soho dressmaker and Jo’s first love.

Jack Davenport (The Morning ShowTen Percent) plays Ann’s competitive younger son James, with Joshua Orpin (Titans) as James’ shrewd and sometimes ruthless son Soames. Millie Gibson (Doctor Who) plays Irene, the dancer whom Soames falls in love with.  Tom Durant Pritchard (This Is Going To Hurt) plays Monty Dartie, James’ son-in-law. 

Josette Simon OBE (Anatomy of a Scandal) is Mrs. Ellen Parker Barrington, a wealthy heiress and friend of the Forsyte family, with Jamie Flatters (Avatar: The Way Of Water) as architect Philip Bosinney and Owen Igiehon (Disclaimer) as lawyer Isaac Cole. Susan Hampshire OBE (star of the 1967 BBC Forsyte Saga for which she received the first of her three lead actress Emmys), plays Lady Carteret.

THE FORSYTE SAGA is directed by Meenu Gaur (Murder Is Easy) and Annetta Laufer (Get Millie Black) and is produced by Sarah Lewis (The Long Shadow). Filming begins in May in locations in England, Wales and Italy.

Screenwriter Debbie Horsfield notes, “It was an honour to be asked to write a bold new reimagining of Galsworthy’s epic saga. Our show is in part a prequel to the events of the first book, but also an opportunity to expand the world and place the women of the family centre stage. It’s a love letter to the original story while offering an exciting new perspective.”

Damien Timmer, CCO & Founder of Mammoth Screen said, “It’s thrilling to be teaming up again with Debbie on this iconic story. Everything about the Forsyte Saga is huge – it’s an epic canvas, and Debbie’s magnificent scripts have delivered a truly great ensemble cast. I hope audiences worldwide will be captivated by the secrets of Soames, Irene, Jolyon and other Forsyte family members as they are laid bare for a new generation of fans!

Susanne Simpson, Executive Producer of MASTERPIECE, added, “We’re proud to commission a new, original take on THE FORSYTE SAGA. This sweeping, romantic drama portrays how duty binds a family together until it conflicts with matters of the heart. Debbie Horsfield’s inspired scripts will be realized by an exceptional cast and supported by a lavish production. We’re thrilled to be creating another one of the high-quality period dramas that MASTERPIECE has always been known for.” MASTERPIECE is presented on PBS by GBH Boston.

The executive producers are Sheena Bucktowonsing, Debbie Horsfield, Meena Gaur and Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen, part of ITV Studios, and Susanne Simpson for MASTERPIECE.

THE FORSYTE SAGA is produced in association with ITV Studios, which will handle international distribution, with PBS Distribution handling North American rights.

THE FORSYTE SAGA was previously adapted as a Hollywood film in 1949 and for television in 1967 and 2002. The 2002 series aired on MASTERPIECE on PBS.

Jon Creamer

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