‘The Miniaturist’ preview: First look at BBC’s adaptation of Jessie Burton’s novel

The BBC has released new promotional photos for the upcoming TV adaptation of The Miniaturist.

Adapted by John Brownlow from Jessie Burton’s internationally best-selling novel, the three 60-minute episodes began filming in Holland earlier this year.

The new mini-series will air on BBC One this Christmas and on PBS in the US in 2018.

Downton Abbey executive producer Rebecca Eaton teased: “The Miniaturist is a riveting book and this adaptation seems to have all the ingredients of the best Masterpiece productions: a page-turning plot, complex characters portrayed by gifted actors and a vivid setting – 17th-century Amsterdam.”

The cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy (Split), Romola Garai (The Hour) and Alex Hassell (Suburbicon), alongside Paapa Essiedu (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Hayley Squires (Southcliffe) and Emily Berrington (Humans).

The official synopsis reads: “In 1686, the 18 year-old Nella Oortman (Anya Taylor-Joy) knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. Full of hopes and dreams, she has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of wealthy merchant, Johannes Brandt (Alex Hassell). But instead of Johannes, she’s met by his cold sister Marin (Romola Garai) and their servants (Hayley Squires, Paapa Essiedu) and quickly realises that nothing is as it seems in the Brandt household.

“When Johannes finally appears he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet that is a miniature replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive Miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror what is happening within the house in unexpected ways and seem to be predicting and unravelling the future with unsettling precision.

“As Nella begins to uncover its secrets and those of the Brandt household, she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation, or the architect of their downfall?”

Writer John Brownlow previously commented: “Jessie’s entrancing novel was a joy to adapt. The depth of her research, the layers of her characters and the way she wove the most modern of themes into a deep period setting to produce a page-turner of a thriller made my work an absolute pleasure, and meant I was able to follow the contours of her story much more faithfully than is sometimes the case.

“What is so special about The Miniaturist is that despite its delicious and unfamiliar period setting, its concerns are absolutely modern: privacy, sexuality, corruption, commerce, hypocrisy, race, public shaming… all woven into a tightly-plotted story full of surprising twists.”