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Everything you need to know about Gemma Arterton's new scandalous nun drama Black Narcissus

Gemma Arterton leads a star-studded cast in the series

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Eve Crosbie
Eve CrosbieTV & Film Writer
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Gemma Arterton's hotly-anticipated new drama Black Narcissus looks like it's going to be a highlight of this year's Christmas TV schedule.

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The new BBC One drama will see an all-star cast take on Rumer Godden's iconic 1939 tale of sexual repression and forbidden love in a nunnery in the remote mountains of Nepal - see the trailer below!

WATCH: The trailer for BBC One's new scandalous drama Black Narcissus

The story has famously been adapted before, in a 1947 movie which took home two Academy Awards. Fans of the film planning to tune can expect a few modern updates as well as scenes from the novel that were deemed too scandalous at the time. Here's everything you need to know about the new series.


The official synopsis reads: "Mopu, Himalayas, 1934. A remote clifftop palace once known as the House Of Women, holds many dark secrets. When the young nuns of St. Faiths attempt to establish a mission there, its haunting mysteries awaken forbidden desires that seem destined to repeat a terrible tragedy.

Black narcissus gemma arterton

Gemma Arterton plays a nun dealing with feelings of sexual repression

"Ambitious young nun Sister Clodagh heads up a mission to the palace of Mopu, in a remote part of the Himalayas. General Toda Rai has donated The House Of Women in the hope that the sisters will be able to rid the palace of unhappy memories connected to his late sister, Srimati."

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Release date

Black Narcissus will air across at 9 pm three consecutive nights on BBC One this December, beginning on the Sunday 27th December and concluding on the Tuesday 29th December. The series will also be available to watch on BBC iPlayer after broadcast.


As well as Gemma Arterton, who plays the central role of Sister Clodagh, the new series also stars Jim Broadbent, Alessandro Nivola, and The Fall actress Aisling Franciosi.

Black narcissus Diana Rigg

The late Dame Diana Rigg plays Mother Dorothea

Dame Diana Rigg who played the formidable Lady Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones will also appear in her final role before her death aged 82 earlier this year.

Discussing how the series will differ from the Oscar-winning movie adaptation, Gemma said: "As we have three episodes, so three hours, we can get deeper into the story of the characters than just the plot... We get under the skin of these characters and explore their relationships in a much deeper way than has been seen before."

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