Timothy Spall to turn detective in new BBC comedy

Timothy Spall
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Timothy Spall has revealed he can't wait to be one-half of an oddball detective duo in a new BBC comedy.

The 67-year-old actor, who recently appeared in the true crime drama The Sixth Commandment, will star opposite Gwyneth Keyworth (Alex Rider, Hidden, Defending the Guilty) in Death Valley, a murder mystery series with a twist.

The series, set in Wales, sees Spall play John Chapel, a retired actor and star of hit fictional detective TV show, Caesar.

When John’s neighbor is murdered, Chapel forms an unlikely cop partnership with Detective Sergeant Janie Mallowan (Gwyneth Keyworth).

Timothy Spall, says: "I'm really looking forward to teaming up with the brilliant Gwyneth Keyworth and the fantastically talented team of creatives and technicians on this new and unique comedy-drama.

"I’m relishing the prospect of getting stuck in as we embark on creating this truly oddball detective duo who develop their unusual combined eccentric skills to hilarious and surprisingly successful effect in beautiful rural Wales and its gorgeous towns and villages."

Peter Farquhar (Timothy Spall) was a teacher and university lecturer.

Timothy Spall in BBC's The Sixth Commandment (Image credit: BBC)

The series sounds like it has echoes of other great comedy mystery shows like Shakespeare & Hathaway and McDonald and Dodds.

Despite their differences, the pair become firm friends as they try to crack cases. 

Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy at the BBC says: "This series has all the hallmarks of a BBC Comedy classic; it's the perfect comedy drama caper which never forgets the funny. We feel thoroughly spoiled to have such a wonderful cast on board."

Josh Cole, Head of Comedy at BBC Studios Comedy Productions, adds: "With a wonderful cast and Paul’s extraordinary scripts, Death Valley is a brilliantly witty and idiosyncratic take on the murder mystery."

Death Valley is a working title so it may change. The six-part series will be shown on BBC Two. It has been written and created by Paul Doolan (Mammoth, Trollied). Check out our best BBC dramas list for more shows to enjoy.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!