A new Inspector Maigret series based on the novels of Georges Simenon is in development, four years after ITV cancelled the last version that starred Rowan Atkinson in 2017. The new show will be produced by Colin Callender's BAFTA-winning production company Playground Entertainment, which also produces the new version of All Creatures Great and Small which runs on Channel 5 in the UK and PBS in the US.
The new Maigret will be English language and that Playground holds the rights to all of George Simenon's 75 novels and 28 short stories featuring Inspector Maigret. The stories were not traditional whodunnits so much as police procedurals with the sage cop using his intuition and powers of observation to solve cases across Paris, his silhouette recognizable by his bowler hat, trenchcoat, and pipe. The Maigret books have sold over 600 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 50 languages.
This comes three years after ITV cancelled the most recent Maigret adaptation, which comprised four film-length TV movies over two series between 2016 and 2017. Rowan Atkinson starred as Jules Maigret, with Lucy Cohu as Madame Maigret and Shaun Dingwall as Inspector Janvier.
Maigret never really went away. There has always been a dramatized series on British and French television. He's almost as ubitquitous as Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, looming larger in France than in the UK, of course. There were countless French movies featuring Maigret since the 1930s. The BBC made a 52-episode TV series in the 1960s. Previous actors to play Maigret include Charles Gray (best known for playing Bond villains) for BBC Radio 4 in the early 1980s, and Richard Harris in the 1980s and Michael Gambon in the 1990s, as well as the classic French movie star Jean Gabin in movies in France in the 1950s. There was a French TV series that ran from 1999 to 2005 starring Bruno Cremer, which is regarded by many fans as the definitive TV series of Maigret. Before Cremer, Jean Richard played Maigret on French TV for more than 20 years from 1967 to 1990, the longest any actor played the character before Cremer.
Red Arrow Studios International president and Managing Director Tim Gerhatz said: "As one of the most recognized and celebrated detective novel collections of all time, it's a privilege to collaborate with Playground and GSL on developing the iconic Jules Maigret character for television, and portraying the romantic yet gritty world of Paris he inhabits.
"Playground has an eminent reputation for bringing award-winning and striking series to international audiences, and we look forward creating a fresh and distinctive adaptation that will appeal to Maigret's existing fans as well as new ones."
Playground's joint Managing Directors Scott Huff and David Stern also said, "Georges Simenon was one of the most prolific crime authors of the twentieth century and his seminal creation, Inspector Maigret, remains one of literature's greatest detectives. It's a rare opportunity to adapt a work that is both distinctive and timeless and we're incredibly grateful to the Simenon Estate and for the partnership of Red Arrow as we bring Maigret to a global audience."
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