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‘Around The World In 80 Days' — all about the new BBC and PBS Masterpiece drama with 'Des' star David Tennant

Around The World In 80 Days on the BBC with David Tennant, Ibrahim Koma and Leonie Benesch.
Around The World In 80 Days on the BBC with David Tennant, Ibrahim Koma and Leonie Benesch. (Image credit: BBC)

In his latest role for Around the World In 80 Days, coming to BBC1 and PBS Masterpiece soon, David Tennant couldn’t look more different from the sinister serial killer Dennis Nilsen he played in ITV's Des (on Sundance Now in the US). Former Doctor Who star Tennant dons a moustache and cravat to play literature’s most famous explorer, Phileas Fogg, in the series which is a modern take on the 19th century novel by French author Jules Verne.

So here's all we know so far about BBC1's Around The World In 80 Days.

Around The World In 80 Days release date

BBC1 has revealed that Around The World In 80 Days will play out over eight episodes in 2021 and each episode will be 60 minutes long. It's a good bet that Around The World In 80 Days could be shown on BBC1 over the Christmas and New Year season in 2021 (it has that vibe!), although this has yet to be confirmed. For its US release, Around the World in 80 Days will be shown on PBS Masterpiece. We will update the PBS Masterpiece release when we hear too. The drama will also air on France Televisions, Germany's ZDF, Italy's RAI and on Channel 7 in Australia/

Around The World in 80 Days will actually make its world premiere this October at the fourth edition of Canneseries in Cannes, France. It will be unveiled in the 'Out of Competition' section during the Festival's Season 04, which will take place from October 8 to 13, at the Palais des Festival et des Congrès in parallel with the 37th edition of MIPCOM, the World’s Largest Entertainment Content Market.

Around The World In 80 Days trailer

A 35-second trailer for Around The World In 80 Days has just been released and you can see David Tennant's moustache in its full glory as his Phileas Fogg begins by saying: "I'm going to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days!". The production does look amazing. Take a look below.///

BBC1's Around The World In 80 Days plot 

BBC1's epic eight-part series Around The World In 80 Days follows intrepid adventurer Phileas Fogg, played by David Tennant, and his newly employed French valet Passepartout as they attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days as part of an outrageous bet. Along the way they’re joined by an aspiring journalist, Abigail Fix, who seizes the opportunity to report on the legendary journey. But the valiant trio find themselves in some hair-raising situations and end up facing the scorching heat of the desert, skullduggery in Hong Kong and strikes in Paris.  

Around The World In 80 Days cast — David Tennant as Phileas Fogg

In Around The World In 80 Days, David Tennant plays Phileas Fogg an upperclass English gent who has a bet with his friends at the Reform Club that he can circumnavigate the world in just 80 days. Then he sets out to prove it, with plenty of global adventures along the way.

David Tennant is a Scottish actor who's most famous for playing British sci-fi icon Doctor Who from 2006 to 2010. He went on to star in ITV crime drama Broadchurch, and recently he portrayed serial killer Dennis Nilsen in the creepy ITV drama Des. All can be seen on streaming service BritBox.

"Around The World in 80 Days" star David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen on trial in ITV's "Des."

'Around The World in 80 Days' star David Tennant playing Dennis Nilsen on trial in ITV's Des. (Image credit: ITV)

BBC1's Around The World In 80 Days cast — who else is starring

Joining David Tennant in Around The World In 80 Days are rising French star, Ibrahim Koma (Je Suis Daddy, Mother is Wrong) as Passepartout, the mercurial chancer whose role as Fogg’s valet ends up changing his life forever. Meanwhile, Leonie Benesch, who was Prince Philip’s sister Cecilie in The Crown on Netflix, is playing Abigail Fix, a young journalist determined to make her mark in a man’s world and emerge from the shadow of her British establishment father.

The impressive cast also includes Jason Watkins (Des), Peter Sullivan (Poldark), Lindsay Duncan (A Discovery Of Witches), Dolly Wells (Dracula), Richard Wilson (One Foot In The Grave, Merlin), Faical Elkihel (The Spy), Anthony Flanagan (The Terror), Gary Beadle (Patrick Melrose) and Giovanni Scifoni (DOC – Nelle Tue Mani).

Ashley Pharoah (Life On Mars, Ashes to Ashes) leads the writing team on the series.

Around The World In 80 days locations

Filming of Around The World In 80 Days began in February 2020 but was interrupted by the global pandemic, so the shoot had to picked up again later that year and in early 2021, finishing in March. Filming occurred all over Europe including Croatia and Romania, plus South Africa..

More about this BBC adaptation of Around the World In 80 Days

This adaptation of Around The World in 80 Days is written by a top team including Wild at Heart writer Ashley Pharoah, who also co-created the hit BBC1 series Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes.

 "We’re thrilled to have such a talent as David to play this modern take on the iconic role of Phileas Fogg" says executive producer Simon Crawford Collins. ‘I’m excited that viewers will also have the pleasure of watching the extraordinary talents of Leonie and Ibrahim in the roles of Fix and Passepartout, as they travel around the world. The series is full of adrenaline, heart and of course lots of fun, thanks to Ashley and our talented writing team. Viewers are in for something really special!"

Around The World In 80 Days the novel

The novel Around The World in 80 Days by the world famous French writer Jules Verne was first published in French in 1872. It’s one of Jules Verne’s most acclaimed works and has been adapted many times in theatre, radio, film and on TV. See below...

Other adaptations of Around The World In 80 Days

David Niven famously played top-hatted Phileas Fogg in a lavish 1956 Hollywood movie of Around The World In 80 Days, alongside Shirley MacLaine, John Carradine and Robert Newton. A 1989 television version of Around The World In 80 Days also saw former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan as Phileas Fogg and Monty Python legend Eric Idle as Passepartout. Michael Palin based his first documentary travelogue in 1989 on Around The World iIn 80 Days as he followed the footsteps of Phileas Fogg.

* All the best BBC dramas