In Review

BBC adapts JK Rowling's Strike novels: What can fans expect?

'Charismatic' Tom Burke takes on the role of a damaged war veteran turned detective

JK Rowling's Cormoran Strike detective novels have been adapted for a new BBC One television series starring Tom Burke as a war veteran turned private detective. 

Burke's character, Cormoran Strike, has suffered both physical and psychological wounds, but has also gained unique insight from his background as a SIB military investigator, which helps him tackle cases that elude the police. 

Morgan Jeffrey on Digital Spy says that Burke, who appeared in the TV adaptation of War and Peace as the wolfish Dolokhov, was an ideal choice for Strike, despite being physically different to the character described in the novels. The book version of Cormoran Strike is a tall "hulking man". 

Michael Keillor, director of the first three-part Strike series, insists that Burke is so "charismatic" that his lack of height and bulk won't concern book fans for long. Burke's character will also be missing part of his leg, after being caught up in a bombing in Afghanistan, just as in the novels. 

Alongside Burke, Holliday Grainger (Great Expectations) will play Robin, Strike's assistant, who must manage his chaotic life and soon becomes involved in his cases. In The Cuckoo's Calling, they reopen an investigation into the suspicious death of a supermodel. 

Sarah Phelps, who adapted another JK Rowling adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, and Ben Richards (Spooks, Outcasts, The Tunnel) were signed up to adapt Rowling's novels for television. 

Jake Kerridge in the Daily Telegraph says Strike is JK Rowling's "crowning achievement" with "much to enjoy" in the opening instalment of the series. 

The critic praises the chemistry of the lead characters, saying the series is designed "not so much to get the viewers’ adrenaline pumping as to make them laugh, think and occasionally shiver". 

The novels were originally published under the name of Robert Galbraith. Several months after the first book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, was released in 2013, the author's real identity was revealed. 

Rowling had wanted her authorship kept a secret, The Independent says but one of her lawyers gossiped to a friend and the truth was soon revealed on Twitter. As soon as Rowling was outed as the author, the book by the “debut novelist” shot from 4,709th position in the Amazon sales chart to number one. 

It was followed in 2014 by The Silkworm and Career Of Evil in 2015. All three books went on to become number one Sunday Times bestsellers lists and Little, Brown sold over four million copies of the worldwide. 

The first three-part series, based on The Cuckoo's Calling, will be broadcast on BBC One on 27 August, followed by the Silkworm, set to air in two parts on September 10 and 17. The third instalment, The Career of Evil is to air in 2018. 

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