The Luminaries on BBCiPlayer - Plot, cast and everything you need to know

The Luminaries

Former Bond star Eva Green leads the cast...

The Luminaries is an adaptation of the Man Booker prize-winning novel of the same name.

It’s now available to watch on iPlayer – see our BBC dramas 2020 guide for more top dramas to watch on iPlayer.

Here's everything you need to know about the new BBC series...

What is The Luminaries about?

The six-part series tells an intricately woven, suspenseful tale of love, murder, magic, and revenge.

The official synopsis is, "The Luminaries tells an epic story of love, murder and revenge, as men and women travelled across the world to make their fortunes. It is a 19th century tale of adventure and mystery, set on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island in the boom years of the 1860s gold rush.

“The story follows defiant young adventurer Anna Wetherell, who has sailed from Britain to New Zealand to begin a new life. There she meets the radiant Emery Staines, an encounter that triggers a strange kind of magic that neither can explain. As they fall in love, driven together and apart by fateful coincidence, these star-crossed lovers begin to wonder: do we make our fortunes, or do our fortunes make us?”

It's based on the award-winning novel by Eleanor Catton, originally published in 2013.

The Luminaries

The Luminaries has an all-star cast!

Who stars in the series?

Former Bond star Eva Green leads the cast of The Luminaries, playing calculating brothel madam Lydia Wells.

Eve Hewson stars as adventurer Anna Wetherell, and Himesh Patel as love interest Emery Staines.

Other cast includes Owen Leslie as Crosbie Wells and Marton Csokas as Francis Carver.

Erik Thomson, Benedict Hardie, Yoson An and Richard Te Are completes the cast.

Is it different from the novel?

Yes, but that's not necessarily a bad thing! In fact, author Eleanor Catton is heavily involved with the series.

Eleanor is listed as writer, creator and Executive Producer on the credits for the series.

She revealed, "People often asked me on set, is it like what you imagined, when you wrote the book? The answer - very happily - was "not in the slightest".

"So many different kinds of artistry and expertise go into the making of a television series, and every frame of the finished product shows the talent and efforts of hundreds of people in hundreds of ways. It’s far greater than anything any one person’s imagination could contain."

Is there a trailer?

Yes, you can watch the full trailer below.

Where can we watch The Luminaries?

You can also stream the series via BBC iPlayer (see our TV Guide for more shows to watch).

Lucy Buglass
Senior Staff Writer

Lucy joined the team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.

She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress