21 June 2020 20:34

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Eleanor Catton recentres her story from the female perspective in BBC One’s The Luminaries adaptation

There's a new period drama hitting the small screen tonight (Picture: BBC/The Luminaries Production Ltd 2018/Kirsty Griffin) The TV adaptation of Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Luminaries, hits the small screen tonight. The six-part murder mystery, which is set in the midst of New Zealand's 1860 gold rush period was adapted for the screen by Catton herself so promises to stay loyal to its acclaimed source material. What time is it on, who is in the cast, and what can you expect from the new BBC drama? The Luminaries is on this evening – Sunday 21 June – at 9pm on BBC One. Irish actress – who is incidentally the daughter of non-other than U2's Bono – Eve Hewson will star as Anna Wetherell, a young English woman who travels alone to New Zealand. On the last day of her journey, she meets a young man called Emery Staines, played by actor, Himesh Patel – best known for playing the part of Tamwar Masood in EastEnders.

Eve has starred in the likes of This Must Be The Place and Bridge of Spies while Himesh has held roles in 2019 film Yesterday, and The Aeronauts. Joining them on the cast is French actress Eva Green (Kingdom of Heaven, Casino Royal, 300: Rise of an Empire) who plays calculating fortune-teller Lydia Wells. According to BBC, The Luminaries is 'an intricately woven, suspenseful tale of love, murder, magic, and revenge. Anna Wetherell has travelled to New Zealand to forge a new life. 'But the scheming fortune-teller Lydia Wells has other ideas for Anna, and lays a trap to ensure that the planned rendezvous between the young lovers never takes place.' MORE: First-look at BBC One's revisionist Anthony Walker drama: What if he wasn't murdered in 2005?

MORE: What time is What We Do in the Shadows on BBC and who is in the cast? Women are few and far between in the midst of New Zealand's gold rush in 1866, the setting for Eleanor Catton's BBC adaptation of her own bestseller, The Luminaries. As one character points out, there are so few women in town that he knows them all, by name – and everyone knows Anna Wetherell, a popular and luminous young woman forced into sex work soon after she arrives on the South Island. Anna Wetherall represents both the Sun and the Moon, as does her astral twin, a man called Emery Staines. Born at the same moment, their fates are inextricably tied together, and both experience a "magic" when they first meet on the boat to New Zealand.

In the television adaptation, however, Catton has righted that wrong, recentring her intricate story from the female perspective. Dunedin, the settlement where Anna (Eve Hewson) first arrives, is now seen through her eyes: dark, unfriendly, menacing, and filled with lonely, watchful men. Eva Green plays Lydia to perfection as a glamorous, velvet-clad schemer conducting an affair with an ex-convict, while her husband, Crosbie Wells, combs the gold fields on the other side of the island. She frequently steals scenes with her monologues on stars and fate – and of course, the whole series (directed by Claire McCarthy) is steeped in the supernatural, and a sense of magic. Catton's choice to focus on the tense dynamic between Anna and Lydia is a clear departure from the novel, which has a far more male-centric opening.

All twelve are linked in some way to a mysterious murder – but in the TV adaptation, this meeting doesn't take place until much later in the series. Catton also gives space to her (literal) star-crossed lovers, Anna and Emery Staines (played by Himesh Patel). Their love story is at the heart of the book, too; but in the series, we see its origins. In one beautiful shot in the first episode, Anna stands onboard the boat she's journeyed to New Zealand on, looking out over the new, alien terrain. But all in all, Catton's choice to spin The Luminaries on its axis, with a new focus on the female perspective, feels fresh and needed.

The sprawling novel was always going to be a nightmare to adapt, but by reintroducing us to the story via characters we barely met the first time around, Catton has managed to breathe new life into her tale. The Luminaries begins on Sunday 21st June at 9pm on BBC One. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide. New drama series The Luminaries has arrived on BBC One and audiences are curious about filming locations. COVID-19 meant that production on new shows, seasons and soaps was essentially at a standstill, so the likes of the BBC have had to adapt. Fortunately, they've still managed to roll out new titles to keep us entertained, while also repeating some acclaimed series from recent years for those who hadn't caught them the first time around; or those who just fancy a rewatch, of course. We're glad to see they're still offering great entertainment, with The Luminaries arriving on BBC One on Sunday, June 21st 2020 at 9 pm… BBC One: The Luminaries This six-part drama series serves as an adaptation of Eleanor Catton's 2013 novel of the same name. So, immediately there was a sense of prestige surrounding this adaptation, inviting audiences to unravel a mystery set in 19th-century New Zealand at the height of the 1860s gold rush. With the likes of Eva Green, Eve Hewson, Benedict Hardie, Himesh Patel and more boasting roles, it's fair to say star power is on its side. The Luminaries filming locations The Luminaries was filmed on location in New Zealand and the crew actually flocked to many of the locations featured in the novel in aims for authenticity. As highlighted by the Express, the series was shot primarily in Auckland, with the crew utilizing real locations as well as building exciting new sets to transport audiences into the 19th century. One of the show's stars – Ewen Leslie – sheds light: "It was all in New Zealand. As you'll know,the story also takes us to Hokitika, so they headed there to film too: "We also shot in a place called Hokitika, which is in the South Island. I got to see a lot of New Zealand and I got to see a lot of the places that we were shooting…" This content could not be loaded An intricately woven, suspenseful tale of love, murder, magic and revenge set in New Zealand at the height of the 1860s gold rush. Starts Sunday, 9pm, BBC One, with all episodes streaming on @BBCiPlayer immediately afterwards. Series director Claire McCarthy shared her knowledge of filming in an interview with the Radio Times. So that meant 165 sets, and creating Dunedin, which is the burgeoning city that Anna's character arrives in in episode one, and then the Hokitika goldfields." That's certainly the case with the main characters on the new British/New Zealand drama television miniseries, 'The Luminaries,' which premiered last month. Based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Eleanor Catton, the show is centered around the young adventurer Anna Wetherall, who ventures from the United Kingdom to New Zealand, in order to start a new life on the South Island's West Coast. (Note that the BBC One channel is only available for free to viewers in the UK, and international users who have a paid subscription.) The first episode can be streamed this afternoon at 5-6pm local time on Filmon. The pilot episode of 'The Luminaries,' which is titled 'Fingerprint,' was written by Eleanor Catto, and directed by Claire McCarthy. Set in 1865, it follows Anna Wetherell (Eve Hewson) as she befriends a fellow traveler named Emery Staines (Himesh Patel) during the last day of their voyage to Hokitika, a town in New Zealand's West Cost. The six-episode show also stars BAFTA Rising Star Award-winning actress, Eva Green. Interested in learning what lies ahead when it comes to The Luminaries episode 2? The folks over at BBC One are eager to make sure that you get hooked on the Eva Green led period drama right away. If you want all sorts of details now on what lies ahead, we suggest that you check out the full The Luminaries episode 2 synopsis below — though remember that there are some spoilers within: Anna Wetherell (Eve Hewson) is now working at Lydia Wells' (Eva Green) fortune parlour, The House Of Many Wishes, where she learns that Lydia is plotting with Francis Carver (Marton Csokas) to steal from Crosbie (Ewen Leslie). Carver deceives Emery Staines (Himesh Patel) into thinking that Anna (Eve Hewson) has left for the goldfields. Emery almost drowns upon his arrival on the Hokitika goldfields, and believing Anna to have drowned as well, he befriends a Māori man, Te Rau Tauwhare (Richard Te Are), and heads into the hills to grieve. Related News – Be sure to get some more news when it comes to The Luminaries now What do you most want to see when it comes to The Luminaries episode 2?