Rebus to return to TV screens after 10 years

Ken Stott as Rebus (right) and Claire Price as DS Siobhan Clarke. Picture: Contributed
Ken Stott as Rebus (right) and Claire Price as DS Siobhan Clarke. Picture: Contributed
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Inspector John Rebus is to return to our television screens after ten years off the air, it has been revealed.

Ian Rankin, author of the series about the uncompromising Edinburgh cop, has agreed a deal with a production firm for the rights to his books.

Ian Rankin had previously voiced a preference for Rebus episodes to be longer. Picture: TSPL

Ian Rankin had previously voiced a preference for Rebus episodes to be longer. Picture: TSPL

And new episodes of the programme could see Rebus appear in an extended ‘Nordic Noir-style’ series.

Thew new series is set to be produced by London-based Eleventh Hour Films, the production firm between Foyle’s War on ITV, and BBC’s New Blood.

READ MORE - Ian Rankin interview: ‘I don’t know if I’ll write about Rebus again’

Rankin has voiced his preference for Ken Stott to reprise his role as Rebus, while the new series will be written by Gregory Burke, the Fife-based writer responsible for the play Black Watch and the film ‘71.

John Hannah portrayed Rebus in the first televised series. Picture: Clerkenwell Films

John Hannah portrayed Rebus in the first televised series. Picture: Clerkenwell Films

Rankin told The Herald: “I’m so thrilled and honoured that Gregory Burke is bringing his outstanding storytelling talent to Rebus.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s the perfect match, allowing the character of John Rebus to emerge in all his complex, three-dimensional glory.”

Burke added: “It is an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to work adapting an iconic character like John Rebus for television.”

In 2011, a spokesperson for STV insisted that a Rebus comeback was on the cards, adding: “We fully intend to bring Rebus back in the future. There are no firm plans yet, but it will return.”

However, there has been no confirmation as yet on what channel will broadcast the new series.

The first series of Rebus was made by John Hannah’s Clerkenwell Films company, with Hannah himself playing the title role.

In pictures: Unseen images of Rebus’ Oxford Bar

Hannah was replaced for series 2-4 by Ken Stott, while STV brought production in-house. But Rankin was reportedly unhappy with the 45-minute format of the last series, and bought back the rights to the TV series in 2012.

He told the Daily Record: “When the adaptations were first done, I took a back seat. I wouldn’t do that again. I didn’t like the fact that it went down to 45 minutes. That’s not long enough for a book.

“I look at Spiral, and The Killing, and see these crime series that are six hours here and 10 hours there and think, why can’t I get 10 hours for Rebus?

“The first series of The Killing was 20 hours. We could do that here. It is a failure of nerve at the television companies. They think the attention span isn’t what it was and try to shoe-horn a story into an hour.”

Stott echoed Rankin earlier this year, suggesting that a new version of the drama should be given ‘the Netflix treatment’, adding: “Filming it over 20 hours - that’s a very good idea. We were always under pressure to get a story out and done within an hour and that’s a tall order.

“You fall foul of formulaic principles – it’s always formulas, formulas, all the same, with a happy ending – and we have to do something better than that.”

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