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He acquired legendary status on the small screen as Blackadder and Mr Bean. Now Rowan Atkinson swaps slapstick for The Seine as he takes on the mantle of Fifties detective Maigret for ITV.

Created in 1931 by author Georges Simenon, the French character is defined by “his laconic manner, heavy coat and trademark pipe”. Maigret was previously portrayed for the channel in the Eighties and Nineties by Richard Harris and Michael Gambon (ironically Gambon also inherited Dumbledore in HARRY POTTER from Harris following his death).

As with other literary figures of his ilk, it’s hoped the brand will bring in healthy ratings. The presence of Atkinson should help no end, if only so people can see how he fares in a straight role. This is the first time the comedian and actor has appeared as a serious lead. Writer Stuart Harcourt is adapting the books Maigret Sets A Trap and Maigret’s Dead Man.

Atkinson issued this statement:

I have been a devourer of the Maigret novels for many years and I’m very much looking forward to playing such an intriguing character, at work in Paris during a fascinating period in its history.

Production commences in September, courtesy of Ealing Studios and Maigret Productions.

Source: Chortle