Viaplay, Eleventh Hour Films and author Ian Rankin are to partner on a “major reimagining” of Rankin’s iconic detective, Inspector John Rebus, drawn from the universe of Rankin’s books.

Set in contemporary Edinburgh, the six-part series places Rebus at the heart of a new story devised by screenwriter Gregory Burke (‘Entebbe’; ’71’). The show represents Viaplay Group’s initial UK drama commission and the first Rebus TV adaptation for nearly 15 years.

In the drama, Rebus is in his 30s, recently divorced and demoted to Detective Sergeant. He has a new colleague, Detective Constable Siobhan Clarke, and is struggling to deal with the changes in his personal and professional life. At the same time, Rebus’s daughter, Sammy, and ex-wife, Rhona, are enjoying an affluent existence with Rhona’s new partner – while Rebus’s brother Michael is finding out that in a society where the gaps between the ‘haves and have-nots’ keep widening, taking shortcuts to provide for your family is no longer a temptation, but a necessity.

Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels and standalone thrillers have sold 30 million copies and been translated into thirty-six languages.

Sir Ian Rankin said: “I’m hugely excited at the thought of Rebus returning to our screens and it’s a privilege to have Gregory Burke write the scripts. I’ve been a fan since ‘Gagarin Way’ and know that he understands the world of Rebus and the compelling central character. I’m chuffed to bits that Viaplay and Eleventh Hour are involved in this groundbreaking endeavour and I can’t wait to share the results!”

Filippa Wallestam, Viaplay Group Chief Content Officer: “Sir Ian Rankin is a global storytelling phenomenon, and partnering to reimagine Rebus for a new generation of viewers is a remarkable way for Viaplay to take the UK stage. This ambitious series will explore family, morality and class in British society through an exciting and emotionally charged story, set against the Edinburgh landmarks that Rankin’s readers know so well. Together with Gregory Burke and the team at Eleventh Hour Films, we will create an unforgettable show with Scottish roots, international appeal and universal themes.”

Jill Green, Eleventh Hour Films CEO: “Sir Ian Rankin and Gregory Burke are the dream duo. They will ensure that ‘Rebus’ delivers in a truly authentic, exciting and fresh way. For Eleventh Hour Films, Viaplay and Scotland, this project feels like great timing.”

Gregory Burke’s plays include ‘Gagarin Way’ (Traverse/National Theatre, 2001) and ‘Black Watch’ (National Theatre of Scotland, World Tour, 2006). His screenplay ‘’71’ (Warp/Crab Apple Films) was awarded Best Writer Film/TV at the BAFTA Scotland Awards 2016. Burke has recently adapted a 4 x 60’ drama for ITVX, ‘Six Four’ (House Productions) starring Kevin McKidd and Vinette Robinson and directed by Ben A. Williams.

The principal cast and director of the new production will be announced shortly, and filming is set to begin in spring 2023. Planned as a returning series, the show is produced by Eleventh Hour Films, with Jill Green, Paula Cuddy and Eve Gutierrez as Executive Producers, and with Isabelle Hultén and Tomas Axelsson as Executive Producers for Viaplay Group. Ian Rankin and Gregory Burke have boarded as Executive Producers.

Viaplay launched in the UK on 1 November with an offering of  Viaplay Originals, curated third-part content and live sports. The UK launch takes Viaplay’s direct-to-consumer footprint to 11 countries, with the US and Canada to follow in early 2023.

Jon Creamer

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