There’s a future at BBC for former Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown Findlay, who has been chosen to headline its upcoming adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1936 gothic novel Jamaica Inn. It’s okay if you’ve never heard of the novel – I certainly haven’t – but it sounds like it could be an interesting story to tell. It might not be as enrapturing as Downton Abbey, but I wouldn’t expect it to be. This is a different breed, unlike what we’ve seen from Findlay in the past. I, for one, am I excited for this project, even though I’m not familiar with the source material.
According to Deadline, BBC One will air the adaptation in three parts, written by Emma Frost (The White Queen) and produced by Origin Pictures. Philippa Lowthorpe will direct the series, which takes place in 1820s Cornwall. Mary Yellan (Findlay) is our central character, a young woman sent to live with her aunt (Joanne Whalley) after the death of her mother. What she discovers upon arriving at the Jamaica Inn is her aunt’s complete submission to her domineering husband Joss (Sean Harris). On top of that, the inn is merely a front for a smuggling ring. Life doesn’t sound like it will be all that great for Mary.
On the contrary, Mary falls for a bad boy – Jem (Matthew McNulty) – and begins to question her morals and loyalties until the ultimate test reveals her true self. What I see here is a miniseries that seeks to take a young, innocent woman and turn her inside out, revealing the darkness that’s within – and very likely was always there. I have not read the novel, so I do not know for sure that’s the intent, but that’s what I’m taking away from the news. If that’s the path the series will take then I’m excited. I love stories of gradual, yet dramatic, changes in people who were so sure of who they are.