Former Doctor Who star Billie Piper returns to BBC One this Christmas in a thrilling adaptation of Philip Pullman’s Ruby In The Smoke.
Sally Lockhart (Piper) has just struck a man dead – not with a weapon, though she has a pistol and probably the heart to use it. No, Sally killed Mr Higgs with just three words: "e;The Seven Blessings"e;.
He died of fear but, unfortunately, Sally has no idea what the words mean.
They were sent to her by her father, just before he drowned in the South China Seas, in a letter warning Sally of danger to come. The only other person to witness this strange turn of events is Jim Taylor, the young company dogsbody at the Lockhart And Selby shipping firm.
With a passion for solving mysteries, Jim sets out to help Sally answer the questions surrounding her father’s death and, together, they are quickly drawn into a mystery filled with opium, Chinese Triad gangs, secrets from Sally’s own past – and, at the heart of it all, the Ruby of Agrapur, which was hidden by her father.
However, Sally is not the only person trying to locate the priceless stone. Her nemesis, a sinister old hag named Mrs Holland (Julie Walters), is desperate to get her hands on it – and will stop at nothing.
Together, Sally, Fred (a young photographer who helps Sally escape from Mrs Holland) and Jim pit their wits against the old woman’s deadly plans. But, as they are drawn deeper into the mystery, they realise that Lockhart and Selby was involved in dark and treacherous dealings in the Far East – dealings which bring them face to face with a villain altogether more terrifying than Mrs Holland and whom Sally will have to overcome if she is to learn the truth about her father’s murder and solve the riddle of her own identity.
Ruby In The Smoke has been adapted by Adrian Hodges and also stars JJ Feild as Fred Garland and Matt Smith as Jim Taylor.