For those Masterpiece Theatre fans itching for a good Brit-fix before the next season of Downton Abbey drops in early next year, don’t discount what’s on cable these days. Sundance Channel, in a co-production with Endor Productions for BBC One, is gearing up to present Restless, a special limited two-night event happening this December.
Based on the William Boyd novel of the same name (a tale of espionage that won him the 2006 Costa Prize for fiction), the miniseries is one part period drama to equal parts spy thriller. Restless is the story of Ruth, discovering the truth about her mother, Sally: a woman living a double life, recruited as a spy in WWII. In the present day, 1976, she is Sally Gilmartin. But then, she was Eva Delectorskaya, agent for the British Secret Service, and in classic spy-flick fashion, an agent on the run. And as Sally, her story remains secret for thirty years; until a former boss, and lover, appears to reveal the past and upset the present.
Romantic and thrilling enough for you? It certainly has a classic feel to it that could sweep even the most dedicated Masterpiece-lover off their feet. And never-fear the potential for sappy melodrama; the acting and directing chops behind this one suggest Restless may have some real heft to it, as well. Directed by Edward Hall, and produced by the Emmy Award-winning producer Hilary Beran, the project was filmed just this past summer in the U.K. and South Africa. Its cast includes the seasoned ranks of Rufus Sewell (Dark City), Hayley Atwell (Captain America), Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Michael Gambon (Harry Potter) and Charlotte Rampling (Melancholia).
If that’s not enough credibility, know that this production is one of two other upcoming ones like it that Sundance Channel is producing. Restless is up alongside powerhouse productions of a Jane Campion-based series called Top of the Lake with Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men) and Holly Hunter (The Piano). The other project, Rectify, is first non co-production for the network, set to air next year. Shot in Georgia, that series was created by the producers of Breaking Bad and Ray McKinnon (Sons of Anarchy), and is set to be a big break for the up and coming network.
Sold on Sundance? (At least until Dame Maggie Smith is back at Downton Abbey in January?) You can watch Restless on Sundance Channel this December. Mark your calendars for both nights of the television event: December 7th and 14th, at 9 pm Eastern time.