Colin Farrell will lead cast of BBC’s 1850s Arctic survival drama ‘The North Water’

The BBC’s upcoming adaptation of Ian McGuire’s The North Water has begun filming.

McGuire’s critically acclaimed 2016 novel, a “gripping and original novel of murder, mystery and survival”, is being brought to television by writer and director Andrew Haigh (45 Years, Weekend).

Set in the UK and the ice floes of the Arctic in the late 1850s, the four-part mini-series will star Colin Farrell (Saving Mr Banks) and Jack O’Connell (Godless).

The official synopsis reads: “The North Water tells the story of Patrick Sumner (O’Connell), a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as ship’s doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic. On board he meets Henry Drax (Farrell), the harpooner, a brutish killer whose amorality has been shaped to fit the harshness of his world.

“Hoping to escape the horrors of his past, Sumner finds himself on an ill-fated journey with a murderous psychopath. In search of redemption, his story becomes a harsh struggle for survival in the Arctic wasteland.”

Executive producer Jamie Laurenson commented: “The North Water is a thriller, a survival adventure, and searing study of character and man’s place in the world. We are so proud to have the compelling talent of Colin Farrell on board to bring Andrew Haigh’s vision of Ian McGuire’s novel to the screen.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, added: “Colin Farrell will bring a blend of brutality and humanity to Andrew Haigh’s superb adaptation of this savage novel. The North Water is a brooding and resonant story which is set to grip BBC Two viewers.”

The North Water will air on BBC Two in the UK in 2020.

Ian McGuire’s novel The North Water is available on Amazon.