Rivers of London – A Hidden Chapter

Fans of writer Ben Aaronovitch who have been pacing the floor anxiously awaiting a Rivers of London TV series, can take the edge off by joining the London Met’s Department of Economic and Specialist Crime, Supernatural Sciences branch, a.k.a. The Folly.

Peter Grant is on a recruitment drive!


Come to the official training centre for new recruits to see if you have what it takes.

Hidden in the depths of Westminster Reference Library lies a secret training centre for the Metropolitan Police where new recruits are taught the necessary skills to work for the supernatural sciences branch. Learn how to tackle vampires, try your hand at magic and avoid temptation from the river spirits.

The product of a collaboration between Aaronovitch, CityRead London and experimental theatre troupe Look Left Look Right, A Hidden Chapter is a live, interactive performance at Westminster Reference Library.

Audiences are invited to try their hand at detective work, magic and fending off supernatural spirits.

It’s one of a series of events in April celebrating Rivers of London and CityRead London, a fantastic scheme that promotes reading across the capital by focussing for a month on just one book featuring London. Previous years’ books have been: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks and My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young.

A Hidden Chapter is running on weekends in April. Tickets cost £10 and include a special copy of Rivers of London. Click here to book tickets and find out more.


Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London TV Series: Casting Wishlist

Ben Aaronovitch
Ben Aaronovitch

After a lot of input from Rivers of London fans the TVClaw Casting Wishlist has been updated  again (31/10/14). Some choices stay the same, some have changed. Others are still undecided. What say you?

Fans of writer Ben Aaronovitch have been doing the happy dance since it was announced back in June that Rivers of London (published in the U.S. as Midnight Riot) has been optioned for television.

“I’m looking forward to this with the mixture of mad anticipation and stark fear that is the only rational response to developing your own work for television,” said Aaronovitch. “[We] will be looking to put something on TV that will blow the audiences’ socks off out through their ears.”

With television vet Aaronovitch (Doctor Who, Casualty) behind the wheel, all should be well provided they get the casting right. Who could, who should play Peter Grant et al.?

For a while Aaronovitch maintained a collaborative fantasy casting wishlist on his blog made up of suggestions from readers. “I keep getting asked who I think should play the characters in the Rivers books and mind always goes blank. So I did what I always do when faced with an empty brain. I went on Twitter and asked other people. The result got out of hand so I decided to turn it into a page.”

The page has been taken down, but recently Aaronovitch tweeted that his first choice to play Nightingale would be Paul McGann. He joked that, “You know if Paul isn’t available I believe I’d settle for Tom Hiddleston as Nightingale – you know – if I had too [sic]”.

Let’s join in the fun and add the TVClaw crowd’s choices to the Rivers of London fantasy cast.

As usual let’s speculate wildly, try not to cry when remembering that Patrick Malahide and Nigel Havers — both of whom would have been perfect 10 years ago —  are too old to play Nightingale, ignore actors’ pre-existing work commitments, and compile our own dream cast for Rivers of London. Add your picks in Comments.

The TVClaw Rivers of London Casting Wishlist (Updated, 31/10/14)

P.C. Peter Grant: after much back and forth we’re going for Ukweli Roach over previous pick Alex Lanipekun (he is a little bit long in the tooth to play Peter). Check out Ukweli’s Twitter profile: he describes himself as ‘wizard’. Oooooh. Errrrr. Stay tuned for updates!

D.C.I. Thomas Nightingale: Paul McGann does have the perfect combination of eccentricity and intensity (and would have been the best Doctor Who ever if he’d been given a proper crack at it), but was initially barred from the Casting Wishlist on grounds of height. However, with some Folly magic that could be overcome. And yes, Tom Hiddleston would also be great in the role, and there’s an outside chance the Wallander alum would return to television à la his Thor co-star Elba. However, don’t discount the power of the vastly underrated Darren Boyd. That said, the popular vote goes to Ioan Gruffud. With his latest foray, Forever, wobbling a bit in the US television ratings right now it’s possible he could be available in the near future.

P.C. Lesley May: we want Kimberley Nixon! After her memorable turns in Fresh Meat and the glorious Under Milk Wood she’s knocked previous favorites  Nichola Burley and Maisie Williams off the top spot.

Beverley Brook: Estella Daniels

Dr Walid: Tony Curran or fellow ginger scene-stealer Julian Rhind-Tutt.

Molly: Talulah Riley in a black wig would still make for an interesting Molly. Yes, of course Helena Bonham-Carter would be hilarious and terrifying and perfect as Molly, but could she be tempted to the small screen for more than a one-off? However, the TVClaw popular opinion is that either HBC or Shirley Henderson would be a far better fit for the part than Riley.

D.C.I. Alexander Seawoll: Greg Davies

Lady Celia Tyburn Thames: Zawe Ashton

D.S. Miriam Stephanopoulos: Julia Sawalha hereby replaces previous pick Catherine Tate

Mama Thames: Patti Boulaye

Father Thames: David Essex

Lord Grant: wouldn’t Cockney Rebel front man (and Deptford native) Steve Harley be amazeballs as Peter’s dad?

Ben Aaronovitch’s lastest novel, Broken Homes, is in bookshops now.

Check out his interview on BBC Breakfast in which he talks all things Folly, explains why old-school Daleks don’t talk much and reiterates his support for Idris Elba as the next Doctor.