Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy And Neil Gaiman – A New Neverwhere For BBC Radio

Starting life as a BBC TV series before becoming a book and then a stage play, the next stage of evolution for Neil Gaiman‘s Neverwhere is to be a radio play.

Dirk Maggs is directing, as he did on the Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential phases of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the heavily serialised* radio version of the Batman story, Knightfall.

Gaiman yesterday published the cast list on his journal, along with a picture of the key players.

Here’s the apparently incomplete cast list

  • James McAvoy – Richard
  • Natalie Dormer – Door
  • David Harewood – Marquis
  • Sophie Okonedo – Hunter
  • Benedict Cumberbatch – Islington
  • Anthony Head – Croup
  • David Schofield – Vandemar
  • Bernard Cribbins – Old Bailey
  • Romola Garai – Jessica
  • Christopher Lee – Earl of Earl’s Court
  • Andrew Sachs – Tooley
  • George Harris – Abbot
  • Don Gilet – Fulingous, Ruislip, Blackfriar
  • Abdul Salis – Sable, Sump, Clarence, Homeless Man
  • Paul Chequer – Gary, Guard 2
  • Lucy Cohu – Lamia
  • Yasmin Paige – Anaesthesia, Tenant 2 – female, Match girl
  • Johnny Vegas – Lord Ratspeaker
  • Stephen Marcus – Varney, Homeless man, Letting agent, Guard 1
  • Karen Archer – Sylvia, Old Woman, Dream Hawker, Mother

Jeepers.

Gaiman says that he has a part too, and recorded it last month. We can look forward to the six episodes, likely thirty minutes apiece, to be broadcast in the first quarter of 2013.

And because the BBC is quite brilliant – really – it will be available to stream online anywhere in the world via their iPlayer. Which you should all be using already, at the very least for I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.

If you haven’t read or seen Neverwhere, I recommend you start with the TV version. It’s not perfect and the production values are more akin to old Doctor Who than new, but it’s Gaiman doing a TV sci-fi serial with a lot of wit, even more charm, and a cast so good that most of them stand direct comparison with the names in the list above.

Now… where’s that Neverwhere feature film we were promised? And can Mr. Cumberbatch play Islington in that too?

*Some 60 odd episodes at only 3 minutes each. It felt like the radio equivalent of a newspaper comic serial.

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