Brow Beat

The BBC’s Casual Vacancy Adaptation Looks Like Very Entertaining Suburban Drama

In 2012, J.K. Rowling released The Casual Vacancy, her first novel to take place outside the wizarding world of Harry Potter. The book’s sales were very good; its reviews were not. Still, Rowling’s name is strong enough to weather a critical pile-on or two, so it wasn’t that surprising when the BBC and HBO announced a three-part adaptation to air later this year. Now we have the above trailer, which, though short, promises a fairly faithful rendering of the book’s small-town drama.

For those not in the know, The Casual Vacancy is set in Pagford, an idyllic West Country town torn apart by a sudden death, numerous racial and political conflicts, andas Slate’s Dan Kois put it—the “residents’ gruesome, reprehensible addiction to gossip.” The book is prime material for a BBC production: There’s a sprawling cast of characters ready-made for Britain’s finest actors, plenty of social commentary to play with, and lots of English countryside to serve as eye candy when the story flags. Most importantly, Michael Gambon—commonly known as Dumbledore—will play parish council leader Howard Mollison.