Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
Sir Michael Gambon is reuniting with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling to bring her first adult fiction book, The Casual Vacancy, to life on the small screen.
The British acting icon, who replaced the late Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore in the boy wizard film franchise, will lead the cast in a BBC TV adaptation of the bestselling novel, about an unexpected death in a quaint English village. He will portray deli owner Howard Mollison, opposite Notes on a Scandal actress Julia McKenzie.
The miniseries will also feature Keeley Hawes, Rufus Jones, Rory Kinnear, Monica Dolan and newcomer Abigail Lawrie. Production on the three-hour series is due to begin on 7 July (14) in south west England. Rowling released The Casual Vacancy in 2012. It has sold more than six million copies worldwide.
The Wire star landed the Best Actor prize for his role in U.K. series Appropriate Adult, a reconstruction of the police investigation into the notorious murderer, while his co-star Emily Watson won Best Actress for playing Janet Leach, who sat in on the interviews Fred West gave to cops.
As he collected his award, West said, "I hope she (Leach) has had some closure and I hope she feels we honoured the suffering she endured and the suffering of all of West's victims, living and dead."
Watson appeared emotional as she gave her winner's speech and told the BBC after the ceremony, "It was such a disturbing place to go. In my speech I was very overwhelmed I forgot to thank Janet Leach, she gave very generously to us.
"The public perception of the West case is a tabloid-driven view and then I read the script and it was a very intelligent piece full of integrity. It's a deep abyss right in the middle of our society."
Appropriate Adult enjoyed a triple win at the London ceremony - Monica Dolan won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Rosemary West, Fred West's wife. Sherlock's Andrew Scott fought off competition from his co-star Martin Freeman to win Best Supporting Actor.
Beloved Australian entertainer Rolf Harris was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in honour of his lengthy career, and as he was applauded he declared, "Thank you so much, that's very moving", before adding, "How nice to be presented with this... I can't begin to tell you just how humbled I am by being here in this distinguished company, so many previous recipients of this BAFTA Fellowship."
Other winners included Shane Meadows' This Is England 88, which took the Best Mini-Series prize, Doctor Who writer Stephen Moffat, who received a Special BAFTA for "outstanding creative writing contribution to television", and Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders (Female Performance in a Comedy Programme).
The ceremony also featured a memorial segment, remembering the stars lost in the past 12 months, including Davy Jones, actresses Anna Massey, Googie Withers and Betty Driver, presenters Jimmy Savile and Bob Holness, actors Peter Falk, George Baker and Colin Tarrant, and comedian Frank Carson.
Presenters at the ceremony included West, actresses Helen McCrory, Melissa George and Emilia Fox, and actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Matt Smith, Sam Claflin and Timothy Spall.
West's two-part drama Appropriate Adult, a reconstruction of the police investigation into the notorious murderer, has been unveiled as the top contender ahead of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts' (BAFTA) TV Awards ceremony next month (May12).
The show scored nods for Best Mini-series, Best Leading Actress for Emily Watson, Best Supporting Actress for Monica Dolan and Best Leading Actor for West, who will compete for the trophy alongside Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch, Exile star John Simm and Joseph Gilgun for This Is England '88.
Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes show also scored nods for his co-stars Martin Freeman and Andrew Scott in the Best Supporting Actor category, while Downton Abbey's Dame Maggie Smith leads the Best Supporting Actress nominations for her role in the popular period drama.
The prizes will be handed out at a star-studded ceremony in London on 27 May (12).
The Brit has signed up to star as Fred West, who was charged with murdering at least 11 girls, and burying many of their remains at his home in Gloucester, England in the 1970s. West committed suicide while awaiting trial in 1995, his accomplice wife Rosemary is currently serving a life sentence for her part in the gruesome crimes.
The Hollywood actor will take on the macabre role for a new programme, Appropriate Adult, on Britain's ITV channel, which will tell the story of West's life from his arrest up to his death.
Oscar-nominee Emily Watson will play voluntary worker Janet Leach, who sat in on police interviews, while stage actress Monica Dolan will portray Rose West.
The show will air in the U.K. later this year (11).