Gripping psychological thriller Thirteen Steps Down based on the novel from Ruth Rendell has been commissioned by ITV.
The two part drama will star Geraldine James, Luke Treadaway and Gemma Jones. In the chilling and compelling story, the fantasies of Michael ‘Mix’ Cellini become decisions which unpredictably turn him into a dangerous character capable of murder.
By day Mix (Luke Treadaway) is an average trainer-wearing guy who repairs fitness machines and renders occasional sexual services to rich, bored women. By night he fixates on his hero, the serial killer Dr Christie. He lodges with eccentric Gwendolen Chawcer (Geraldine James) who owns a huge old Victorian house in Notting Hill. Her home is a monumental shadow of its former self with a cavernous hall and a drawing room crusted with dust and cobwebs.
Beyond the decaying and dusty rooms, Mix climbs the thirteen steps to his own room to his self-contained flat which is a brilliant contrast to the rest of the house with its light floors and white paintwork, but it’s also a shrine to a romantic delusion he harbours with a stunning top cover girl and haute couture model, Nerissa Nash, who will be played by actress Elarica Gallacher.
Thirteen Steps Down has been commissioned for ITV by Drama Commissioning team, Laura Mackie and Steve November.
“Ruth Rendell’s characterisations and plot weaving create irresistible stories for contemporary television dramas,” said Laura. “Adrian Hodges’ enthralling script perfectly captures the spine chilling and eerie suspense of Thirteen Steps Down.”
Wracked with superstition about the number 13, Mix prides himself in his collection of well-thumbed books on the infamous Reginald Christie and the original poster from the film 10 Rillington Place. Disturbingly, he becomes convinced Christie is haunting him and giving him the strength, inspiration and silent approval to carry out murder.
Mix’s obsession with Nerissa is unhealthy. He starts to stalk her, convinced they are in love and destined to be together. Initially, Nerissa mistakenly believes he is a bit strange but not a real threat and will lose interest in her if she ignores him. Mix is in denial and goes to extraordinary lengths to be close to her. Will Mix’s fixation on Nerissa threaten her life? Or will he spare the one woman he truly loves? And who else will get in his way……
As the plot unfolds, we discover what led Mix to his dangerous neurosis and violent outbursts and the commonality and hatred between him and his bitter and disagreeable landlady, Gwendolen. Her friends Olive Fordyce and Queenie Winthrop distrust Mix enormously and become more and more suspicious of his behaviour.
“Ruth Rendell is one of the great storytellers this country has produced and this is a great opportunity to rediscover her work for television” said Alan. “We are excited to be working with ITV to bring Adrian Hodges’s brilliantly crafted script to a whole new audience, as well as Ruth’s legions of fans across the country”
Thirteen Steps Down will be directed by Marek Losey (DCI Banks, The Hide) and also stars Anna Calder Marshall as Queenie, Victoria Bewick as Danila, Laura Pyper as Kayleigh and Dhafer L’Abidine as Abbas. Maryam D’Abo will play Madame Shoshana.