Here at Killer Reads we were hugely excited to hear that BBC America was going to turn one of our favourite books, THE INTRUDERS, into an 8-part TV show. We waited on tenterhooks to hear what the plans for UK transmission would be. Whispers reached our ears that it was probably going to air on BBC2, which seemed like it might be too good to be true. In the meantime, the transmission date for the US premiere was set for 23rd August. But when would we get to see it in the UK? It seemed so unfair – after all, although the novel, and the TV show, are set in the US, the author is British!
Then I got a very exciting email inviting me to see the first episode on the same day as it aired in the US. Michael Marshall was going to be in Brighton on the 23rd August, but BBC America had been kind enough to send him a preview disc and grant him permission to share it with a small group of family and friends – and he in turn was kind enough to include me in that group.
It was a huge privilege to get an early look at the show and thankfully it didn’t disappoint. For those who have read the book, the opening scene might be somewhat confusing – the show begins in a completely different way from the novel. It’s less hard-hitting, but immediately intriguing and I thought a very clever way of drawing viewers in to the story.
Episode one as a whole is something of a slow burn as there are a lot of characters and ideas to introduce, but in my opinion it’s no bad thing for a show to take its time with the set-up and trust the viewer to have a bit of patience. BBC2 have probably made a wise decision in starting off with a double-bill of episodes one and two so that viewers will have a chance to really get to know the characters, become engaged in the story and sink into the compellingly creepy atmosphere.
It’s a particularly well-cast show, with John Simm, Mira Sorvino and James Frain all taking key roles and inhabiting them with ease. The standout performance, however, has to be that of ten-year-old Millie Brown. If you’re a fan of chilling performances by child actors, this is your kind of show.
But what did the author himself think of it all? On your behalf, I asked him, and he said this:
‘As an author what you most hope for is that an adaptation preserve the spirit and intention of the book – and this series does that in spades, developing the mystery slowly and ominously until it seeps into your bones. Add to that the array of people working at the top of their game – the great cast, of course, but also Glen Morgan’s show-running genius, Mark Freeborn’s production designs, Bear McCreary’s extraordinary score, quality directors like Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Stamm … Some of the most talented people in television have given this show their very best, and I’m delighted with the result. It’s striking and unusual, insidious and compelling. You may love it, you may hate it — but I guarantee you won’t say “Meh”.’
Tune in to BBC2 at 9pm on Monday 27th October to find out for yourselves.