ITV has commissioned a new drama based on the Ian Rankin thriller Doors Open and produced by Sprout Pictures, the company founded by Stephen Fry and Gina Carter.
Fry will co-star in the two-hour drama in which a self-made millionaire, an art professor and a banker come together to undertake an audacious art heist.
The project was commissioned by Laura Mackie, Director of Drama at ITV, who described it as “full of excitement with many twists and turns”.
The story follows Mike Mackenzie, played by Dougie Henshall (Collision, Primeval, The Silence), a self-made businessman with too much time on his hands. Bored by the comfort of his millions and grieving for the woman who walked out on him five years previously, he’s got an adventurous side just waiting to get him into trouble. When he hears the love of his life, Laura Stanton, art consultant and auctioneer, has returned to Edinburgh, his whole world is turned upside down and he’d risk anything to get her back.
After an evening’s drinking with close friends art expert Professor Gissing played by Fry and banker Allan Cruickshank, Mike dreams up a plot to rip-off one of the most high-profile targets in the country – Edinburgh’s private art collection owned by a national bank
Luckily Edinburgh’s buildings of special interest are open to the public for a single day under the ‘Doors Open’ scheme. It’s the nation’s celebration of public access, the perfect opportunity for these three to pull off the perfect art heist and for Mike it’s too good a challenge to pass up. It might just help him to get Laura back into his life.
Mike enlists the help of Charlie Calloway, old school friend and small time gangster, to beef up their criminal know-how, but Charlie’s involvement comes at a price: he brings the unwelcome attention of some less-than-friendly outlandish gangsters. By the time the gallery warehouse doors are flung open to the public, there’s no going back.
Discussing the project’s origins Fry said: “I picked up Ian Rankin’s breathless and ingenious thriller Doors Open at an airport a year or so back and as I read I just knew it would make a thrilling, charming and original TV drama.
“I also adored the character of Professor Gissing and a shamefully vain part of me refused to see anyone else in the role. I am so thrilled that ITV were of the same opinion and that all of us at Sprout Pictures have managed to put together what I believe will be an entertaining, suspenseful art heist thriller which will appeal to audiences at home and abroad.”