Martin Clunes plays the celebrated novelist and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’ novel, Arthur & George for ITV.
The drama is based on an intriguing series of true events in the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who famously created the detective Sherlock Holmes.
Conan Doyle recaptures his zest for life by pursuing and challenging a notorious miscarriage of justice – the case of George Edalji, a hard-working solicitor and the son of Hampshire vicar, Reverend Shapurji Edalji and his wife Charlotte. George has served seven years in Pentonville Prison for allegedly mutilating animals and sending threatening letters. The offences have become known as The Great Wyrley Rippings.
Following the death of his wife, Louisa, Conan Doyle has become a “bore and a sulk” by his own admission. All around him do their best to bolster Arthur from his grief and mourning including his beloved ‘Mam’ who implores him to “sink his teeth into something. If not a book then some new pursuit.”
Set in 1903 in Staffordshire, Hampshire and London with the backdrop of Conan Doyle’s family home, Undershaw, Sir Arthur joins forces with his trusted manservant, Alfred ‘Woodie’ Wood with whom he has a very strong bond.
On learning of George’s plight and glimpsing the headlines concerning the Great Wyrley Rippings, Conan Doyle urges Woodie to arrange a meeting with George, who is released from prison after serving three years of his seven year sentence. Now at 27, George is desperate to clear his name so he can return to his career.
Arthur & George also features Conan Doyle’s relationship with Jean Leckie, a much younger woman, with whom he enjoyed a ‘platonic’ relationship whilst his wife was alive. Jean eventually became his second wife.
Arthur & George is written by Ed Whitmore (Silent Witness, Waking The Dead, He Kills Coppers). The drama was commissioned by ITV’s Director of Drama, Steve November and Controller of Drama, Victoria Fea.
November says: “Arthur & George explores what we think we know about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life. It’s a fascinating insight into the man who was to become one of the most famous of his age. We’re delighted to be working with Martin and the production team at Buffalo Pictures on such a clever and complex adaptation of Julian Barnes’ acclaimed novel.”