Lethal White Filming for BBC1 Begins: Robert Glenister as Jasper Chiswell!

Bronte Studios has begun filming the adaptation of Lethal White for BBC1 written by screenwriter Tom Edge. Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger are back in the lead roles as Cormoran and Robin and the actors who have played Charlotte and Matthew return as well. See the BBC1 announcement here.

The surprise? Robert Glenister, the brilliant narrator of the Strike audio book versions, has been cast as Jasper Chiswell:

Burke (The Souvenir, War And Peace) and Grainger (Animals, The Capture) lead a cast of acclaimed British actors including Robert Glenister, who most recently starred in Curfew for Sky Atlantic, other credits include Paranoid, Journey’s End and Live By Night as well as conman Ash “Three Socks” Morgan in the hit BBC One series Hustle. Glenister also read the audio-book versions of the Robert Galbraith books including Lethal White. Natasha O’Keeffe (Peaky Blinders, Sherlock) and Kerr Logan (Alias Grace, London Irish) also return as Strike’s ex-girlfriend and Robin’s fiancé respectively.

I guess this casting shouldn’t be that much of a surprise given Glenister’s accomplishments as an actor but the overlap is fascinating and curious. I mean, Stephen Fry and Jim Dale are famous comedians and actors, too, but they weren’t invited to take part in the remarkably large ensemble cast of the Hogwarts Saga film adaptations.

I look forward to the day (if I live long enough to see it — I don’t think this day will be coming anytime soon) when we learn the background machinations of The Presence in all things Cormoran Strike, from her planning and writing of the books to the adaptations for the wee screen and the serendipitous casting of Burke as Rosmer in the West End revival production of Rosmersholm the summer before Lethal White is filmed. I suspect that Glenister’s casting as Chiswell was as much a coincidence as Burke’s was, which is to say, “not an accident at all.”

I am not a fan of film adaptations, but I so admire Glenister’s readings that I confess to looking forward to seeing his version of Jasper Chiswell. You?


  1. Very much looking forward to seeing the Lethal White adaptation when it finally gets across the pond (hope it gets here faster than the first three in the series!) I think that Glenister was unexpected but I think anyone who has heard the audio books is also happy with the choice and is looking forward to seeing him in the part. I don’t know the work of the other two new actors who were announced (playing Jimmy and Billy Knight) but I think they do fit the image I had of them while I was reading Lethal White.

    I have to say that I enjoy reading the Strike books very much but I also enjoy their tandem screen version partners. Acting is also an art form at least as old as the ancient Greeks and Romans (and no doubt way before that).

    As a fan of the visual as well as the cerebral, I believe that there is imagination required in both reading the novel and when crafting the story visually to stage, TV or film. The visual is more a community than the solitary novel creation. The visual productions have a collection of artists combining their own areas of expertise to tell the story in a more communal way.

    I see film and TV as the modern equivalent of the old campfire or Greek/Roman theatre. Acting out and sharing a story with others–as opposed to the individual reading a text. Both serve the purpose but neither need to be mutually exclusive. Shakespeare can be read and enjoyed and endlessly studied by scholars and readers but his plays were also (mainly) meant to be enacted in front of an audience. His work has endured for many reasons but one reason is surely because his plays offer such a wide choice of different interpretations. Different directors can take the same work and reinterpret (re-imagine) it in a multitude of different ways to play out on the stage or in a screenplay on a screen. Some things will inevitably be left out moving from one media to the other, but the art is to still keep the heart and soul in any new and thought provoking interpretation.

    I can’t wait for Galbraith/Rowling’s next Strike book. I live in hope that she will at least give us a small update–very soon. But I also love it when they film the books and we have a whole other way of getting to “see” the story. (One of the best things is that since there are only four episodes for the BBC Lethal White 600+ page adaptation–we will know by what they have deemed important enough to include, that by its inclusion, it was deemed necessary for the character’s story going forward.) Hopefully, this will give readers a clearer path (knowing the important from the possible misdirection) in trying to unlock the main murder (Leda’s) mystery of the series.

  2. Louise Freeman says

    I love the narrations so I am looking forward to the adaptation— and to adding to our list of clues: the kid who could have shot Strike but did not, the brief mention of Whittaker’s child with Leda, Brittany Brockbank turning up in the flesh and in a commune. But I have a hard time seeing Jasper Chiswell as handsome as Glenister. I pictured him looking more like Howard Mollison from Casual Vacancy. I know John has commented about how Tom Burke is too good-looking for Cormoran; I am finding this even more of a stretch.

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