A two-part crime thriller based on Ruth Rendell’s novel “Thirteen Steps Down” is set to hit the UK’s ITV channel in mid-August. The television drama stars Luke Treadaway as Mix Cellini, a criminology obsessed fitness machine repair man who strays into a fantasy of his own making.
The program is a set of contrasts between the past and the present. A dilapidated old Victorian townhouse owned and lived in by Cellini’s landlady, Gwendolen Chaucer, and Cellini’s ultra modern flat within the house.
Cellini himself is caught between the here and now and his obsession with a famous killer from the 1940′s and 1950′s, John Christie. Likewise the plot itself is a contrast between a modern crime thriller and an old fashioned Miss Marple as Gwendolen’s senior friends piece together the odd behaviour of Gwen’s lodger.
The tale references the real-life story of serial killer John Christie, who lived at 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, London. He killed eight women between 1943 and 1953 by gassing and strangling them. Another resident at the house, Timothy Evans, was convicted of the killing of his daughter Geraldine Evans and hanged for the crime. The subsequent unveiling of Christie’s string of murders cast doubt on the conviction and led to a pardon and subsequent abolition of the death penalty in the United Kingdom.
Several police searches of the house and garden during the Evans investigation failed to reveal visible bones and hidden bodies. The events were later turned into a film starring Richard Attenborough, though the occupants of the house at the time were unwilling to vacate number 10 and the film was instead set at number 7.
Viewers will see the lead star of the ITV production, Luke Treadaway in a host of films and productions over the next 18 months: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, Wasteland, St George’s Day and Get Lucky as well as another novel-based drama, a play at The National titled “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time“.
“It was an absolute joy. They are three wonderful, hilarious women and they were great to work with. Anna Calder-Marshall was telling me about working with Laurence Olivier when she was Cordelia to his King Lear, so it was fascinating hearing the stories and working with such experienced people.”
Part of the filming for the drama was shot in Ireland, where Elarica Gallacher, who plays Nerissa Nash, took some time out to visit the Guinness brewery and tried her first pint of Guinness:
“Yes, it’s terrible. At the end of the tour they give me a pint and all I managed was one sip, that was it. People were telling me to ‘get your lip in there, get your lip over the white bit, and really have a drink!’ and I just didn’t get it. It was awful. Not my kind of drink.”
“…I’ve got some friends who live in Ireland who come to London once in a while and they said they would take me when I arrived. These three girls went through about 3 pints of the stuff; they weren’t messing about at all. I’m glad I tried it. But it’s not something I’ll not be drinking in the future. It’s definitely a marmite moment, you either love it or hate it. I hate it.”
Thirteen Steps Down will air on ITV in mid-August for UK viewers only.
Mix Cellini played by LUKE TREADAWAY
Gwendolen Chaucer played by GERALDINE JAMES
Nerissa Nash played by ELARICA GALLACHER
Olive played by GEMMA JONES
Queenie played by ANNA CALDER-MARSHALL
Danila played by VICTORIA BEWICK
Darel played by SAM O’MAHONY
Madame Odette played by MARYAM D’ABO
Kayleigh played by LAURA PYPER
Abbas played by BEN SHAFIK
Tom played by BRIAN BOVELL
Hazel played by CARRIE CROWLEY
Colette played by MELANIE GRAY