The Casual Vacancy, a three-part mini-series, centers on Pagford, a seemingly idyllic English village with a cobbled market square and ancient abbey. However, behind the pretty façade, is a town at war. The rich at war with the poor, children at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, and teachers at war with their pupils.
The Casual Vacancy is an HBO and BCC coproduction is based on the global bestselling 500-page novel by J.K. Rowling, produced by Brontë Film and Television, written by Sarah Phelps (Eastenders, Great Expectations) and directed by Jonny Campbell (Doctor Who, Shameless).
People who read the book or watched the series expecting the magic of Harry Potter, would be disappointed. It's not that. And they shouldn't have expected that.
The Casual Vacancy is a bit of a disturbing character study to say the least, in a Downton Abbey-esque setting but with the Harry Potter darkness. There are so many characters you spend much of the first hour just getting introduced to them all. Once you get into knowing the characters, you then delve into the plot, with class warfare, neighbors keeping up with the Joneses, teenagers in crises, and classic English snobbery. It's an interesting series. Something unlike anything else I've seen in quite awhile.
The talented ensemble of actors is led by Michael Gambon (“The King’s Speech,” the “Harry Potter” series), Julia McKenzie (“Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple,” “Notes on a Scandal”), Keeley Hawes (“Upstairs, Downstairs,” “Ashes to Ashes”), Rory Kinnear (“The Imitation Game,” “Penny Dreadful”), Rufus Jones (“Paddington,” “W1A”), Emily Bevan (“In the Flesh”), Simon McBurney (“Magic in the Moonlight,” “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) and Monica Dolan (“Wolf Hall,” “W1A”), and introduces Abigail Lawrie in her acting debut. Paul Trijbits (“Dancing on the Edge,” “Small Island”), Rick Senat (“Birthday”), Neil Blair and J.K. Rowling executive produce; Ruth Kenley-Letts (Academy Award® winner for “Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life”) produces.
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