Ruth Rendell’s psychological thriller Thirteen Steps Down is to be adapted by ITV as a two-part drama starring Geraldine James, Luke Treadaway and Gemma Jones.
The drama is being adapted by Adrian Hodges (My Week With Marilyn, Primeval) and produced by Parallel Films for ITV1.
By day Mix (Luke Treadaway) is an average trainer-wearing guy who repairs fitness machines and renders occasional sexual services to rich, bored women.
By night he fixates on his hero, the serial killer Dr Christie. He lodges with eccentric Gwendolen Chawcer (Geraldine James) who owns a huge old Victorian house in Notting Hill. Her home is a monumental shadow of its former self with a cavernous hall and a drawing room crusted with dust and cobwebs.
Beyond the decaying and dusty rooms, Mix climbs the thirteen steps to his own room to his self-contained flat which is a brilliant contrast to the rest of the house with its light floors and white paintwork, but it’s also a shrine to a romantic delusion he harbours with a stunning top cover girl and haute couture model, Nerissa Nash, who will be played by actress Elarica Gallacher.
As the plot unfolds, we discover what led Mix to his dangerous neurosis and violent outbursts and the commonality and hatred between him and his bitter and disagreeable landlady, Gwendolen. Her friends Olive Fordyce and Queenie Winthrop distrust Mix enormously and become more and more suspicious of his behaviour.
“Ruth Rendell’s characterisations and plot weaving create irresistible stories for contemporary television dramas,” said ITV Drama Commissioner Laura Mackie.
“Adrian Hodges’ enthralling script perfectly captures the spine chilling and eerie suspense of Thirteen Steps Down.”