Disney+ Sets Series Adaptation of C.J. Sansoms Shardlake Murder Mystery Novels

Disney+ is set to take viewers on a journey through Tudor England with its latest series, “Shardlake.”

Based on the internationally acclaimed Tudor murder mystery novels by C.J. Sansom, the four-part drama is set in 16th century England during the dissolution of the monasteries.

The series will follow the story of Matthew Shardlake, played by Arthur Hughes (“The Innocents,” “Then Barbara Met Alan”), a lawyer with an acute sense of justice and one of the few honest men in a world beset with scheming and plots. Shardlake works for Thomas Cromwell, played by Sean Bean (“Time,” “Game of Thrones”), the dangerous and all-powerful right-hand man to Henry VIII.

Despite Shardlake’s unwavering loyalty to Cromwell and the Crown, his position in society is unfavored due to his appearance, as a person living with scoliosis during the Tudor period, suffering the indignity of being abused as a “crookback” wherever he turns. As he investigates the murder of one of Cromwell’s commissioners at a monastery in the remote town of Scarnsea, he is accompanied by Jack Barak, played by Anthony Boyle (“Masters of the Air,” “Tetris”), a cocky and good-looking character who may be Cromwell’s spy.

The series is executive produced by George Ormond and Mark Pybus for The Forge, Stevie Lee for Runaway Fridge and Lee Mason for Disney+ EMEA. Justin Chadwick (“The Other Boleyn Girl”) directs the series with John Griffin as producer. Stephen Butchard (“Baghdad Central,” “The Last Kingdom”) has penned the script.

Production of “Shardlake” has already begun, with filming taking place in Hungary, Austria and Romania.

Lee Mason, director, scripted content, Disney+, said: “C.J. Sansom’s novels have captivated millions of readers across the globe, and we’re thrilled to be joining forces with The Forge and Runaway Fridge, introducing the exceptional Arthur Hughes as Matthew Shardlake to fans and new audiences alike. Stephen and Justin’s vision for this chilling tale of murder, mystery and politics promises to thrill and delight, and joins a growing catalogue of unmissable original drama for adults on the service.”

Butchard added: “Writing ‘Shardlake’ has been nothing short of a joy. C.J. Sansom’s novels are incredibly rich in story, character and history; full of intrigue, excitement, cruelty and compassion – and at the centre of it all is Matthew Shardlake, a hero like no other. Although these stories are set in Tudor England, the themes absolutely engage and resonate with today’s world. Hundreds of years may have past – but humankind and what makes us tick has changed little.”

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