A new eight-part BBC adaptation of the literary classic Around The World In 80 Days is in the works.

Leonie Benesch (L) and David Tennant (R) to star in new BBC period drama


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Here’s everything we know so far about the new period drama based on the book by Jules Verne.





David Tennant, the Scottish-born, world renowned actor whose credits include “Broadchurch” and “Doctor Who,” will lead the cast and travel the Victorian-era world as Phileas Fogg, the intrepid explorer who takes on the adventure of a lifetime.

Simon Crawford Collins, the executive producer of the 2020 BBC adaptation, says that the series is “full of adrenaline, heart and of course lots of fun,” but that “bigger than the hair-raising physical challenges of the adventure – from the scorching heat of the desert to skulduggery in Hong Kong and of course strikes in Paris – will be Fogg’s personal journey.”

Fans of period dramas will recognize Tennant from his role as Casanova in the 2005 mini-series, as Mr. Gibson in Anthony Trollope’s “He Knew He Was Right,” and as John Knox in “Mary Queen of Scots.”

David Tennant in He Knew He Was Right, courtesy BBC

Verne set his book in 1872, with the action beginning in London. Following an outrageous bet, English gentleman Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, take on the legendary journey of circumnavigating the globe in just 80 days. Rising French star Ibrahim Koma takes on the role of the mercurial Passepartout; an irrepressible chancer who falls into the role of Fogg’s ‘valet’, little knowing it will change his life forever.

Joining Tennant and Koma is period drama veteran Leonie Benesch (Princess Cecile in The Crown, Greta Overbeck in Babylon Berlin, Frieda Mosenbach in the Howards End mini-series) playing Abigail Fix, the young journalist determined to make her mark in a man’s world and emerge from the long shadow of her British establishment father. Fix seizes the chance by rounding out the trio and reporting on this extraordinary story.

Leonie Benesch in Babylon Berlin, courtesy Beta Film

The series is adapted by a team of renowned writers led by Ashley Pharoah (Under the Greenwood Tree, The Living And The Dead) and Caleb Ranson (Young James Herriot). That team includes Debbie O’Malley, who has written episodes of the British historical dramas “Call the Midwife” and “Upstairs Downstairs,” as well as for “Harlots.” “Wide Sargasso Sea” screenplay writer Stephen Greenhorn also joins.

Steve Barron (The Durrells, Treasure Island) will be lead director with Charles Beeson (Cider with Rosie) also lined up to direct a number of episodes. 

The “ambitious interpretation of this classic novel” (Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisition) promises to have a cinematic feel. Filming begins in February 2020 principally in South Africa and Romania, and each of the eight-episodes in the mini-series are an hour long.

The story has been adapted multiple times for the screen, including a 1956 movie starring David Niven as Phileas Fogg, a 1989 TV mini-series starring Pierce Brosnan, and a 2004 movie with Steve Coogan in the leading role.

Nellie Bly Pendant from TheHugeManatee

Jules Verne’s novel inspired numerous attempts to travel around the world in 80 days or fewer. In 1889, after reading the book, American journalist Nellie Bly traveled around the world in just 72 days, setting a world record. 

Stay tuned for the 2020 US premiere date of BBC’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” first look photos, and the official trailer.


If you enjoyed this post, you’ll want to wander over to The Period Films List. You’ll especially like the Best Period Dramas: Victorian Era List.