Timothy Spall Exits PBS/BritBox Series ‘Magpie Murders’, Replaced by Tim McMullan

Timothy Spall has pulled out of the upcoming PBS/BritBox crime drama Magpie Murders due to a scheduling clash and will be replaced by distinguished stage actor Tim McMullan.

McMullan, who recently starred in the Netflix/BBC production The Serpent, will play detective Atticus Pünd in the six-part thriller produced by Eleventh Hour Films for Masterpiece and BritBox UK. The series is adapted from Anthony Horowitz’s international bestseller of the same name, the first novel in the Susan Ryeland series.

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Eight-part series about warring families will air on streaming service BritBox.

In the book, Ryeland works as the editor for mystery author Alan Conway, the man behind the beloved character Atticus Pünd. When she visits Conway’s home to retrieve the missing pages of his latest manuscript, she suddenly finds herself in a deadly mystery of her own, the answers for which can only be found within the novel itself.

Phantom Thread star Lesley Manville is set to play Ryeland in the upcoming TV adaptation. She will be joined by the aforementioned McMullan, Pippa Haywood (Bodyguard), Michael Maloney (The Crown), Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones), and Line of Duty actor Daniel Mays who has just been announced for the cast.

“I’m absolutely loving doing Magpie Murders,” said McMullan. “Anthony has written such a brilliant and beguiling script, full of wit, suspense and murder. It’s an immense privilege to be asked to bring to life the wonderful and enigmatic Atticus Pünd. He’s such a great character to play; I feel very fortunate indeed.”

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The new series stars John Simm ('Doctor Who') as an outcast police officer who gets a shot at redemption.

Mays also spoke of his excitement, stating, “I’m beyond thrilled to be joining the hugely talented cast of Magpie Murders, not least to finally share the screen with the incredible Lesley Manville. Anthony Horowitz’ scripts are ingenious. Murder, intrigue with plenty of laughs and tears along the way. I couldn’t put them down. With two timeframes to play in and the actors portraying not one but two roles it presented a wonderful opportunity to create a special piece of television.”

Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) is directing the series, which is currently in production and expected to land on BritBox UK and Masterpiece PBS in 2022.