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by Eric Mattina
November 30, 2012 4:23 PM
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'Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell' and a Jason Byrne Sitcom Among BBC Orders for 2013 Series

With only one short month left in the year the BBC is revealing its big plans for the 2013 TV season, announcing an ecclectic assortment of series for the new year -- some of which will surely make their way to networks here not long after their UK bows.

At the center of these announcements are the plans for a six-episode adaptation of Susanna Clarke's bestselling 2004 fantasy novel "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell," which revolves around the reintroduction of magic to England during the Napoleanic Wars. There have been several attempts at adapting the nearly 900-page novel as a film, but perhaps the small screen is the better medium for bringing Clarke's richly ambitious and heavily populated novel to life without butchering it too much for sake of time. The series will be adapted by Peter Harness, who most recently penned the Kenneth Branagh-starring "Wallander," and directed by Toby Haynes ("Doctor Who," "Being Human"). Cuba Pictures with Feel Film and Farmoor will produce.

Coming from David Nicholls, most recently writer of films "Starter for 10" and "One Day," is "The 7.39," a romantic drama about two people who meet on the train during their commute and spark a friendship that soon becomes a tentative romance. The two episode series will be produced by Carnival Films.

"Being Human" creator Toby Whithouse is writing the six-episode series "The Game," a spy thriller set among the '70s espionage of the Cold War. The series will be produced by BBC Cymru Wales.

Lastly, on the lighter side of things, is the new sitcom "Father Figure," which is created, written by, and will star stand-up comedian Jason Byrne. Byrne will offer his own spin on the traditional sitcom narrative, playing a relatable everyman with a wife and two sons whose plans for being a good husband and father are consistantly foiled by his extended family. The series will be produced in-house by BBC.

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    Casting note for Jonathan Strange: TOM HIDDLESTON! Seriously. I'm sure many of us have already imagined him as that character. (I can't be the only one.....)