Classic novel The Moonstone returns to BBC

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BBC Television has a great reputation for turning classic literature into excellent television serials.

There used to be a regular slot on Sundays afternoons in the 1960s and 1970s where one book after another became a classic serial for all the family to enjoy.

Sadly that is no longer the case, however starting this coming Monday and throughout the week on BBC1 at a quarter past two in the afternoon there will be the latest version of the famous detective novel - The Moonstone. It is often viewed as the first detective novel. However, this is not the first time the novel, written by Wilkie Collins, has been adapted by BBC television.

There was a Sunday classic serial made in 1959 which now sadly no longer exists in the archives. However another adaptation was made in 1972, also for the Sunday afternoon slot and it ended up being released on DVD. Then in 1996 it was remade – this time for a later timeslot – and is available on DVD. It will be interesting to see how the writers Rachel Flowerday and Sasha Hails interpret the source material this time round.

The story is about what happens when a very valuable object – the Moonstone – goes missing after a party. Who has taken it and why? There are several suspects who could have done it. At the heart of the action is Franklin Blake (Joshua Silver) who comes to the conclusion that if he is to win the heart of Rachel Verinder (Terenia Edwards) then he must solve the mystery.

He is helped in his task by retired detective Sergeant Cuff (John Thomson) and Gabriel Betteredge (Leo Wringer). Sarah Hadland, Sophie Ward, Stewart Clarke and David Calder also star. The story takes many twists and turns before it reaches its conclusion.

Ian K