Viaplay has found its Inspector Rebus and author Sir Ian Rankin is keeping it in the name.
Outlander star Richard Rankin – no relation to the source material’s scribe – will play the lead in the Nordic streamer’s debut UK original Rebus. He follows in the footsteps of fellow Scottish actors John Hannah and Ken Stott, who led the ITV version 20 years ago.
Viaplay’s reboot, which is planned as a returning series and will soon unveil more cast, follows 40-year-old Inspector John Rebus at a psychological crossroads following an altercation with an infamous Edinburgh gangster. At odds with a job increasingly driven by technocrats, involved in a toxic affair he knows he needs to end, and all but supplanted in his daughter’s life by his ex-wife’s wealthy new husband, Rebus begins to wonder if he still has a role to play – either as a family man or a police officer.
Richard Rankin, who plays Roger Wakefield in Starz drama Outlander and whose past credits include The Last Kingdom and Trust Me, said he “feels very lucky to be given the honour of bringing such an iconic Scottish character back to TV screens.”
Ian Rankin backed Richard Rankin to “bring the character to life,” adding: “He’s the perfect fit for the role, and not just because we coincidentally share the same surname.”
71 scribe Gregory Burke is penning the adaptation from Magpie Murders outfit Eleventh Hour Films. The project is a big UK bet for Viaplay, having launched in the territory just four months ago.
Viaplay Chief Content Officer Filippa Wallestam said it is a “privilege to have such a famous character spearheading Viaplay’s original storytelling in the UK.”
Rankin wrote 24 Rebus novels between 1987 and 2002. The TV series ran from 2000 to 2007 on ITV and saw first Hannah then Stott portray the main character.