Ethel White’s 1936 novel “The Wheel Spins” was adapted to film by an early career Alfred Hitchcock as “The Lady Vanishes.” Now the BBC is giving that source material another whirl with Diarmuid Lawrence (“Little Dorrit”) directing and Fiona Seres writing the adaptation.
Tuppence Middleton (“Chatroom”) will play socialite Iris Carr, the role played by Margaret Lockwood in Hitchcock’s film, while Selina Cadell will take on the May Whitty role of Miss Froy and Tom Hughes will take on the role of Iris’ fellow travel and sole ally, played in the earlier film by Michael Redgrave. Keeley Hawes, Gemma Jones, Stephanie Cole and Julian Rhind-Tutt will also appear in the 90-minute thriller.
In adapting the story, Seres looks to be keeping closer to the original source material than Hitchcock did, despite retaining his title — Iris passes out from heat stroke, for instance, and her love interest is named Max, not Gilbert, as was Redgrave’s character.
This not-quite-Hitchcock adaptation, which is due for a holiday broadcast in the UK and doesn’t yet have a US release, comes on the tail of the controversial BBC/HBO TV movie “The Girl,” about Alfred Hitchcock’s (Toby Jones) allegedly abusive, predatory relationship toward actress Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller). Directed by Julian Jarrold, “The Girl” is slated to air on HBO in October and the BBC in December.