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Black Narcissus on BBC1 - release date, cast, plot and everything you need to know

Black Narcissus BBC
(Image credit: FX)

Black Narcissus will see Gemma Arterton take the lead role...

Black Narcissus, BBC1's much-anticipated new drama, is heading to our screens this December and promises to be one of the highlights of the Christmas TV schedule.

The three-part drama will see an all-star cast bring Rumer Godden's famous novel of the same name to life with forbidden love and sexual repression.

Here is everything you need to know about the new series...

Black Narcissus on BBC1 release date - when will it air?

The series started filming back in October 2019 and it has now been confirmed that it will air on three consecutive evenings - Sunday 27th, Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th December all at 9pm on BBC1.

Each of the three episodes will last an hour long.

Black Narcissus

Gemma Arterton as Sister Clodagh in Black Narcissus (Picture: BBC/FX/Pari Dukovic) (Image credit: FX/Pari Dukovic)

The series has already started in the US, with all three episodes available on streaming channels FX and Hulu.

Announcing the project, writer Amanda Coe says: "I’m thrilled to be adapting Black Narcissus for BBC1.

"It’s a truly extraordinary love story, as well as a brilliantly unsettling piece of 20th century gothic about the power of a place to get under your skin and the dangers of refusing to learn from history."

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What’s the plot?

Set in the 1930s the series follows the novel's iconic tale of forbidden love and repressed desires.

Black Narcissus is a haunting love story that follows Sister Clodagh and the other nuns at St Faiths.

The series, set in the Himalayas, sees the nuns travel to Nepal to set up a branch of their order in the remote palace of Mopu.

Diana Rigg Black Narcissus

The late Diana Rigg stars as Mother Dorothea (Picture: BBC/FX/Pari Dukovic) (Image credit: FX/Miya Mizuno)

However, the abandoned palace holds dark secrets, and soon Sister Clodagh finds herself attracted to a handsome land agent called Mr Dean.

Soon repressed memories of Sister Clodagh's past become entangled in the tragic history of the palace, and before long it seems history is doomed to repeat itself.

Are there really ghosts in the Himalayas? Or are the nuns just succumbing to long-prepressed desires?

And, most importantly, which of them is prepared to die - or kill -  for love?

Who’s in the cast of Black Narcissus?

Written by Bafta award-winning writer Amanda Coe and directed by Charlotte Bruus Christensen, Black Narcissus sees an all-star cast bring the classic literary novel to life.

Gemma Arterton (The King’s Man, The Escape) leads the cast in the role of Sister Clodagh.

Black Narcissus

Sister Philippa is played by Karen Bryson (Picture: BBC/FX/Pari Dukovic) (Image credit: FX/Miya Mizuno)

Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle, Chimerica) joins Gemma on the cast as Mr Dean.

Aisling Franciosi, known for her role as Katie Benedetto in crime drama The Fall, plays Sister Ruth.

The late Diana Rigg, known for roles in Game Of Thrones and Victoria amongst others, appears as Mother Dorothea.

Jim Broadbent plays Father Roberts, Gina McKee is Sister Adela, and Rosie Cavaliero stars as Sister Briony.

Also part of the cast are Patsy Ferran as Sister Blanche, Karen Bryson as Sister Philippa and, making her TV debut, Dipika Kunwar is Kanchi.

Is there a trailer?

Yes, there is a trailer and it's packed full of drama...

What else do we know?

This isn't the first time Rumer Godden's book, written in 1939, has been adapted.

Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus is coming to BBC1 this Christmas (Picture: BBC/FX/Pari Dukovic) (Image credit: FX/Pari Dukovic)

In 1947 Black Narcissus was made into an Academy Award winning film which was written, produced and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

Black Narcissus will air on Sunday 27th, Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th December at 9pm on BBC1 - see our TV Guide for more Christmas dramas not to be missed.