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‘Around the World in 80 Days': Everything you need to know about the new BBC drama with 'Des' star David Tennant

The first image released of David Tennant's "Around The World In 80 Days" on the BBC.
The first image released of David Tennant's "Around The World In 80 Days" on the BBC. (Image credit: BBC)

In his latest role for BBC1’s much-anticipated drama Around the World in 80 Days, David Tennant couldn’t look more different from the sinister serial killer Dennis  Nilsen he played in ITV's Des (to be shown in the U.S. on Sundance Now from October 15). Former Doctor Who star Tennant dons a mustache 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.

What’s the story in BBC1’s 'Around the World In 80 Days'?

The epic eight-part series Around The World In 80 Days follows intrepid adventurer Phileas Fogg 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. 

Who joins David Tennant in the cast of BBC1's 'Around The World In 80 Days'?

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 journalist determined to make her mark in a man’s world and emerge from the shadow of her British establishment father.

"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 as Dennis Nilsen on trial in ITV's "Des." (Image credit: ITV)

When was the book 'Around the World in 80 Days' first published?

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

What other adaptations of 'Around The World in 80 Days' have there been?

David Niven famously played top-hatted Phileas Fogg in a lavish 1956 Hollywood movie, alongside Shirley MacLaine, John Carradine and Robert Newton. A 1989 television version also saw former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan as Phileas Fogg and Monty Python legend Eric Idle as Passepartout.

What else do we know about '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!’

When will Around the World in 80 Days be shown on BBC1? 

Filming began in February 2020 but was interrupted by the global pandemic, so the shoot has only just picked up again recently.

BBC1 has revealed that the adventure 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 season in 2021 (it has that vibe!), although this has yet to be confirmed.