Thriller reveals more about ‘The Girl Before’

Sunday: The Girl Before; (BBC One, 9pm)

Edward, Jane and Emma
Edward, Jane and Emma

We’re getting an early Christmas gift this Sunday thanks to TV schedulers.

ITV is broadcasting The Royal Variety Performance at 7.20pm, which promises to be another epic show featuring amazing performances from top British and international stars.

Meanwhile, over on BBC One, starting at 6.45pm, Gary Lineker, Gabby Logan, Clare Balding and Alex Scott present Sports Personality of the Year 2021 from Media City UK in Salford. After that comes off air at 9pm, it’s time for new four-part drama The Girl Before which should keep us on the edge of our seats – those who have read the book it’s based on describe it as a knife-edge thriller, so it certainly sounds promising. Since the novel was first published in 2016, it’s sold more than a million copies, so it was only a matter of time before a screen adaptation came our way. The script has been written by its author, JP Delaney, which is one of many pseudonyms used by writer Tony Strong.

“Having written for the screen in a previous career, it’s long been a dream of mine to adapt The Girl Before, but I was determined to only do it if I could find partners who wanted to pursue high quality, classy storytelling above all else,” says Delaney/Strong. “You really couldn’t get a more quality-focused line-up than (production company) 42, the BBC and HBO Max – and we’ve already attracted world-class talent in the shape of (director) Lisa Brühlmann, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and David Oyelowo.

“Psychological thrillers can be even more gripping on television than they would be as movies, and I’m incredibly excited to be re-telling this particular story in a visual medium. It’s also been great fun to collaborate on episodes two and three with a brilliant co-writer, Marissa Lestrade.”

“This story is mind-bending in its clever construction and intricacy,” adds Oyelowo. “I can’t wait to see it, let alone be in it.”

Mbatha-Raw, who previously worked with Oyelowo on the fantasy film Come Away, is an associate producer on the production. She also takes the lead role of Jane, who jumps at the chance to move into her dream home. It’s a swanky, ultra-minimalist property but, as she soon discovers, it really is too good to be true.

Before taking up residence, Jane must agree to abide by the rules set down by its exacting architect (Oyelowo). Once inside, she begins to feel as if the property is changing her. Jane then makes the shocking discovery that she and the previous tenant are unnervingly alike – and that her predecessor met a disturbing fate…

“Can our surroundings, like a special house, affect who we are, even change us?” asks Emmy-nominated director Brühlmann, who also counts Killing Eve among her credits.

“The ability to change our beliefs and our character is highly fascinating to me. I can’t wait to bring this female-driven thriller to life.”

And we can’t wait to see it either. What a treat!

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