BBC to Adapt China Miéville’s The City & the City for Television

David Morrissey (perhaps best known to U.S. audiences as The Governor on The Walking Dead) will play Inspector Tyador Borlú in BBC Two’s forthcoming adaptation of The City & the City. Tony Grisoni (The Young Pope, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams) will adapt China Miéville’s mind-bending novel, about a murder that forces Borlú to move between the overlapping twin cities of Besźel and Ul Qoma, into a four-part television series.

Since The City & the City was published in 2009, it has been adapted into a stage play (in 2013). The synopsis:

When a murdered woman is found in the city of Besźel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. To investigate, Borlú must travel from the decaying Besźel to its equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the vibrant city of Ul Qoma. But this is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a seeing of the unseen. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one. As the detectives uncover the dead woman’s secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them more than their lives. What stands against them are murderous powers in Besźel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.

China Mieville“This is a story that explores the way we live together today, set in divided cities where communities live cheek by jowl, choosing what they see and ‘un-see,’” executive producer Preethi Mavahalli said in a press release. “The City & the City is a noir thriller with a fantastical twist which will quite literally break boundaries with its unique take on the murder mystery.”

“It’s been fascinating and moving to witness the translation from fiction to script,” Miéville said, “and to work with Tony [Grisoni] 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!”


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