Jessie Burton’s dramatic old-world thriller, The Miniaturist, is being reconstructed for a new TV adaptation planned by the BBC. With the runaway success of the book, there will be a lot of fans looking forward to the prospect of seeing the lavish dissection of historical morality played out on the small screen with the might of the BBC behind it, following on from the critical acclaim of its War And Peace adaptation at the beginning of the year.
The three-part adaptation will be coming to BBC 1 next year with filming due to take place for the hour long episodes throughout winter 2016/17 in both the UK and Holland. An air date hasn’t been announced as of yet, but with the filming schedule, we’d say it’ll be either the Easter period or later in summer before transmission.
That should give you enough time to read the book yourself, if you haven’t already, and you can check out our review of Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist for more details on what we thought of the book. Set in Amsterdam in 1686, it tells the story of the secrets that lie behind the opulence and power of Dutch trading during the 17th Century.
At the centre of it all is 18-year-old Petronella Oortman, who arrives in Amsterdam to be reunited with her much older husband, Yohannes Brandt, a wealthy international tradesman, who she’s met only once on their wedding day. However, the arranged marriage doesn’t have the happy start she’d hoped for when she arrives at his house at the to be greeted coldly by Yohannes’ stern sister, Marin.
As the strained family setup plays out, Nella’s husband gives her a doll’s house replica of their grand house on the richest canal street in Amsterdam. Commissioned from a skilled, but illusive miniaturist, the arrival of the house sparks a series of more miniatures from the gifted craftswoman, but when they start to replicate reality a little too closely, Nella finds that the secrets of the house hold serious repercussions for them all.
The Miniaturist BBC 1 adaptation has been written by John Brownlow with Jessie Burton describing the script as perfect, so it clearly gets the author’s seal of approval. It’ll be produced by The Forge for BBC One with Kate Sinclair and Elizabeth Kilgarriff serving as the executive producers for the show.
While we didn’t wholly take to Burton’s debut novel in its entirety, you can’t get away from the potential the story has for a TV adaptation. If it can come up with a way to better set out the various dramas without it feeling a bit like a 17th century Dutch equivalent to Eastenders then it could be a decent period thriller. The cast will be a big part of the potential success of the three-part mini-series, but then with the sheer success of the book, The Miniaturist could be a big draw no matter what.