BBC One has released the first trailer for The Casual Vacancy – the first J.K. Rowling book-to-screen adaptation since 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. Of course, The Casual Vacancy is a very different kind of story, entirely without wands or wizards, it centers on the denizens of a small town in the English countryside and their sordid inner lives (Those looking to return to Rowling’s magical world will have to wait for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trilogy). Based on Rowling’s first ever adult-oriented novel, The Casual Vacancy takes place in the picture-perfect village of Pagford whose idyllic facade belies a town in turmoil.
The 3-part series premieres February 15th on BBC One, and will debut here in the U.S. courtesy of HBO sometime in the future. The Casual Vacancy is directed by Jonny Campbell from a script by Sarah Phelps and stars Rory Kinnear, Simon McBurney, and Harry Potter alum Michael Gambon.
The Casual Vacancy centres on Pagford, a seemingly idyllic English village with a cobbled market square and ancient abbey. Behind the pretty façade however, is a town at war: rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils. Pagford is not what it first seems.
At the Parish Council meeting the subject of Sweetlove House and its legacy arises. Howard Mollison, the Chairman, heads up the faction who want to see an end to the legacy; the thorn in his side is Barry Fairbrother, who makes an impassioned speech outlining the importance of the legacy, and the services it provides. For now, Barry has won the argument.
When Barry dies suddenly, Pagford is left in shock, and the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the village has yet seen. Three candidates are soon lined up: Miles Mollison, Howard’s son; Colin Wall, Barry’s friend; and Simon Price, Barry’s half-brother.