The BBC’s new period drama The Luminaries began in the UK tonight.
The Luminaries is set on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island in the boom years of the 1860s gold rush.
The cast includes Eva Green (Penny Dreadful), Eve Hewson (Robin Hood, Bridge of Spies), Marton Csokas (Lord of the Rings), Himesh Patel (EastEnders), Benedict Hardie (Hacksaw Ridge), Yoson An (Mulan), and Ewen Leslie (Top of the Lake).
Watch a clip from Episode 1:
Here’s a plot recap for the first episode of The Luminaries, which aired on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 21st June 2020:
The tale unfolds in two storylines.
The first begins in 1866, with a mystery: a politician, Alastair Lauderback (Benedict Hardie), arrives at a cottage to find a woman, unconscious with opium; a Māori man, also unconscious; and a corpse.
Lauderback brings the woman to town, where she is arrested for public intoxication and held at the jail.
The second storyline takes us back nine months earlier to 1865, beginning on the day of Anna Wetherell’s (Eve Hewson) arrival in New Zealand.
She is fresh-faced and full of promise. After a romantic first encounter, she agrees to meet with fellow passenger, Emery Staines (Himesh Patel), but the scheming fortune-teller Lydia Wells (Eva Green) has other designs.
Anna is taken under Lydia’s wing, and Emery under the wing of former convict, Francis Carver (Marton Csokas).
In 1866 the corpse is brought back from the cottage and identified, and the town jailer, George Shepard (Callan Mulvey), mounts a murder investigation.
Back in 1865, Emery and Carver are interrupted by a man shouting in Cantonese, who then tries to kill Carver.
Lydia’s husband, Crosbie Wells (Ewen Leslie), returns home from the goldfield with a change in fortune.
Eleanor Catton’s original novel is available on Amazon.