Earlier this year it was announced that James Wood would be adapting one of the greatest comic novels of all time, Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall, for the first time for television.
Today, an all-star cast has been announced to star in the three-part BBC Two comedy satire; Jack Whitehall (Bad Education, Fresh Meat), David Suchet (Agatha Christie’s Poirot) Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) and Douglas Hodge (The Night Manager).
Decline and Fall sees Paul Pennyfeather (Jack Whitehall) as an inoffensive divinity student at Oxford University in the 1920s, who is wrongly dismissed for indecent exposure having been made the victim of a prank by The Bollinger Club.
David Suchet will play Dr. Fagan, the headmaster of Llanabba, an obscure public school in Wales where Paul first finds employment and works with fellow teacher Grimes (Douglas Hodge). It is at the school that he meets the Honourable Mrs Margot Beste-Chetwynde, to be played by Eva Longoria, who is the mother of one of the pupils.
For Paul it is love at first sight but little does he know the surprises that lie ahead of him when he agrees to tutor her son over the summer holidays.
Of his casting as Paul Pennyfeather, Jack Whitehall says:
“I am extremely pleased to be a part of this amazing adaptation by James Wood. I’ve been a fan of this book since I read it as a teenager and I just hope that I can do it justice.”
Shane Allen, Controller, BBC Comedy Commissioning says:
“One of the greatest comic novels of all time, this satirical masterpiece is long overdue a television debut. Waugh deploys comedy and tragedy to point up prevailing institutional corruption and the dehumanising consequences of elitism, very timely and apposite for today. James has done a terrific job of getting to the core of it and the writing has attracted a fantastic cast.”
This adaptation of Decline and Fall will mark 50 years since Waugh’s death.
Decline and Fall will air later this year on BBC Two