Morrissey, Billingham team to bring Tom Thorne to television.

We have some great news for fans of Mark Billingham, or of good crime television.

Sky is partnering with Mark to bring his first two novels (SLEEPYHEAD and SCAREDY CAT) and their protagonist, Tom Thorne, to the small screen in the U.K. Each title will consist of three one-hour episodes, though it is not known whether or not they will run over the course of consecutive nights or weeks.

For those unfamiliar with Billingham and Thorne (Shame on you!), Thorne is a 41 year old cop on the Murder Squad at the Metropolitan Police. He is rather intense fellow with a bit of darkness about him. One other thing that sticks in my mind about him is that he likes country music. Mark has done a great job of developing Tom over the course of the series. If you are not familiar with the books, pick them up.

David Morrissey (STATE OF PLAY, truckload of British television, Upcoming film version of Ken Bruen’s BLITZ) will be playing Tom and is quite excited about it. “I’m a huge fan of Mark Billingham’s books in the Tom Thorne series, so to get the chance to bring the character to life is very exciting for me. Thorne is such a complex and intense character, and I like the fact that there is nothing easy about this man.”

In addition to starring, David is also a producer, as is Mr. Billingham and Jolyon Symonds.

“I’m excited to be closely involved with the production,” Mark said. “David Morrissey and I came together very early on the project once the broadcaster had made the initial approach and we have worked closely with the writers from day one. David was always the actor I wanted to play Thorne, so to have him on board and so fired up about the series is fantastic.”

Stephen Hopkins (CALIFORNICATION, 24, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS, LOST IN SPACE…ouch) will be directing, with the screenwriting being handled by Jim Keeble and Dudi Appleton. Keeble and Appleton have worked together previously on TRIAL AND RETRIBUTION and SILENT WITNESS. Stephen and David have worker together previously on THE REAPING.

We should have some more cast news as we enter the new year.
No timetable has been set, but it is expected to air sometime in late 2010.

As I recall (it has been a while since I read Mark), Thorne is not a tall fellow. David is 6’3 so there certainly are some physical differences, but David is a good actor and, for me, it is about the character not the appearance. I am sure he will deliver the goods!