It’s Official! RA Will Play Jackman

This seemingly has been in the works for a long time, but now it’s official:

Not everyone is a fan of the Joy Ellis books, but I have to say that I have enjoyed listening to the Jackman and Evans series. It was a slightly rocky start, because I didn’t really think that Their Lost Daughters, the first Jackman book which Richard performed, was all that great. But I really like the character of Jackman and his relationship with his DS Marie Evans. It has also helped that Joy Ellis is a very personable writer who engages with her audience. And so I have to say that I welcome these news. From the article it sounds as if they are planning to create a show with multiple seasons. Well, that will also depend on the success of the first season, but I would love for Richard to star in a show across several seasons again! Just imagine – knowing that we could watch him on a regular basis rather than in one single film or a one-season dramatisation of a thriller… Exciting.

The article says that Richard’s White Boar Films has acquired the rights, and I wonder whether that means that he will also be producing the show. I’m not familiar with Tim Dynevor, listed as writer for The Fens, but Google tells me he has written countless episodes of British soap Emmerdale. Sounds as if he has lots of experience.


So, with Richard playing Rowan Jackman, will they make some adjustments to the character? As far as I remember, Jackman in the books is in his 30s, for instance. Will they make him a little older to suit the more mature look of RA? That’s just a nit-picking detail, but enquiring minds need to know 😉. Perfect opportunity to wheel out my “fake cover” for The Stolen Boys…

So, what’s your reaction? Do you like the Joy Ellis books? Do you like Rowan Jackman? Do you welcome the news that RA is hoping to take on the show – and play the lead? If you can’t quite imagine it, look over this again:



58 thoughts on “It’s Official! RA Will Play Jackman

  1. *happy dance* This is great news! I’ve enjoyed RA’s narrations of the Jackman and Evans books and right from the start I’ve been wishing that a TV series with him in the lead role would eventuate. I don’t know how long the process is from acquiring the rights to actually filming, but let’s hope it’s not too long! *more happy dancing*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe, we’ve been waiting for these news for years!! Basically since 2018 when TLD came out. I hope they have all the financing etc already lined up and the project will get on the way soon.


  2. I’m excited it’s happening (although probably still a ways until we get to see anything). I don’t care what other people think about the books. My brain loves listening to them. Perfect companions to my crafting.
    I have already negative nancied over in Twitter. I admit to being uneasy about the changes to Marie’s character as per White Boar blurb (Evans will seek to find answers to the unexplained death of her husband). Hoping for a positive outcome there.


    • I had to look up the blurb on the WBF site and I agree, the Marie Evans storyline sounds different. I hope that it doesn’t mean they will step into the same trap as Joy Ellis. The major criticism I have with her books is that she has a tendency to overload the plot with too many subplots/side plots. A mystery surrounding Marie’s husband’s death would be one such thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s my gripe. We don’t need this. Yes, she’s police and he was police, but the strength of that backstory in the book imo is that his death is just a garden variety accident. Not everything in a thriller needs to be nefarious. Not everything that happens in a fantasy novel needs have supernatural causes or implications. You need normal things a swell. Most novel series already defy normalcy (even major case police don’t deal with that many murders…) otherwise you literally lose the plot.
        And I can’t help but think it will irrevocably make Marie a very different character. Policewoman who loses beloved husband in an accident is quite a different psychological profile from policewoman is haunted by husband’s “unexplained death” and (I assume) driven to solve the mystery.


        • Yeah, it is just too much. Sure, any kind of crime series defies reality and needs us to suspend our disbelief. But at the core it needs the main investigative team to be of sound mind and on track without major upsets. It just distracts too much when there is too much going on. IDK, maybe they think they want to flesh Marie out a bit, give her a backstory that rivals the whole MI5 subplot for Jackman. (BTW, I was not aware of that from the books at all. Obviously didn’t listen attentively enough…)


              • Sorry to butt in but I remember some MI5 background. I think it’s always connected with his family’s expectations he might have failed. But I do not remember the actual book though as I haven’t listened to all of them. May be my fragmentary memory…


  3. Reblogged this on pamelakeenanblog and commented:
    Thank you for this. I love Joy Ellis’s books and you’re right about her interacting with her readership. There was an offer of a free kindle book that I missed because of delays on receiving the post on fb. I expressed my sadness at missing out on the offer and Joy contacted me and asked me to contact her direct. She asked for my address and sent me a copy of the book dedicated to me and signed by her. I can’t wait for this series to be made. A trip to the fens is still in my to do list so maybe I’ll make it sooner rather than later.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for reblogging! Nice story re. Joy Ellis. That was a really decent (and unexpected) thing to do. I have also had some private interactions with her and I agree that she is really personable, friendly and nice.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Joy did exactly the same for me last year when I missed out on an offer for a free paperback copy of The Murderer’s Son (when Facebook failed to notify me in time!) and she sent me a personalised signed copy. She is such a lovely person. (She asked to know a bit about me as well, which surprised me, and we found we had a lot in common regarding the places we have lived.)
      I’m so glad she is getting her (and our) dearest wish for Richard to play Jackman.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Listened to one book (first one chronologically although I guess not the first one recorded). It was a plot disaster; obvious by the third disk whodunit. I also thought Armitage (atypically for him) got the female lead voice totally wrong. That said, maybe I will like this since (a) Ellis is not the writer and (b) Armitage is not playing the female roles. Not super sanguine, though, as I developed no interest in the male lead (Jackman) by the end. I read a LOT of this stuff, and it was just not up to par either in plotting or characterization with most of what I read / enjoy in this genre.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My main gripe with Joy Ellis’s books is that I find the plots overloaded with too much stuff. Particularly the first book (in sequence of recording – Their Lost Daughters). The bonus of imagining Jackman to be played by RA probably has a massive part in why I like Jackman. Those visuals definitely elevated the series for me. And over time, you simply become familiar with the character. I find the series quite entertaining for what it is – crime fiction.
      Re. female voices: Tbh I rarely like the way RA voices females. Most of the time they sound too feeble to me, always a little reticent, breathless, naive, and in Marie’s case that does not correspond to the descriptions given of her. Giving RA the benefit of the doubt here, and assuming that what I interpret from the breathy, soft voices is not intended and just the effect of him attempting to differentiate between voices…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I also think this is just his way of trying not to speak in his very deep male voice so it comes out a bit “soft-spoken” – and for some characters that is very fitting, like Hild in “The Lords of the North” for others not at all. I ABSOLUTELY love how he is doing children’s voices though!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Soft-spoken is a good description. It’s just that it doesn’t always chime with the character of the person he is voicing. I love all his accents, though. He is nevertheless an excellent narrator.


    • Disagree on pretty much every one of your points.

      Richard did have the odd accental/delivery glitch.

      Who doesn’t.

      Up to par. Whose par?

      I find them to be beautifully plotted and delivered.
      Complex? Is there a benchmark?

      Life is messy. And tricky. And often just mundane.

      Coming from a family of cops going back to 1865…

      I find these stories to be both satisfying and cozy. And also intriguing.

      Are they 100% realistic?
      Who knows or cares.

      The genre is full to the brim.


      Overall; his narrations/performances are truly marvellous to my ears.

      I enjoy the books and the rather delightful voice of RA to be an escape from the woes of modern life.

      The tv show will no doubt grab the plots and the personalities and shake them down to the lowest common denominator.
      They can and will be enjoyed on their own terms.

      But we will always have the books.

      Those of us who enjoy them, and take them for what they are; that is.


      • [shrugs] I would say, yes, there is a benchmark as there are many British police procedural book series with male / female partnerships. Obvious comparisons in this genre: Deborah Crombie (Kincaid / James); Elizabeth George (Lynley / Havers); Ann Cleeves’ Shetland novels; Peter Robinson (Inspector Banks / Annie), doesn’t Rebus (series by Ian Rankin) usually have a woman working with him? haven’t read one in a while — one could go on and on. It’s a very popular, crowded genre and I’m not even including US police procedurals or m/m investigative teams (obviously m/f investigating partnerships outside of the police go all the way back to Dorothy Sayers in British crime fiction and possibly further) I don’t love all of these series and have stopped reading some of them, but there is a standard there.


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  6. I really enjoy the audio books and am very happy that he bought the rights and will play this role. Hopefully the first season will be a success. It will be interesting to find out where it will be shown.


  7. I’ve listened to the first eight J&E audiobooks (#9 drops in Dec) and love them, most especially the character development of Jackman and his team. They are almost like family. And yes, I think aging Rowan about 15 yrs wouldn’t hurt the plot at all. Bring it on. I’m all in!


    • I have listened to all of them, too. The relationship between Jackman and Marie is what I enjoy most. Just to see two colleagues knowing each other well and trusting each other. And yes, I am *totally* into the *totally* predictable idea of Jackman and Evans together. Fully unoriginal but it fulfills my needs for neatly tied-up strands 😂


  8. Since I only actually discovered RA a year and a half ago I have been busy. I discovered audiobooks after listening to an interview of his and I was hooked. I have listened to all the Joy Ellis books, some more than once, and I am thrilled! And now we wait . . .


  9. I really enjoyed listening to the series and like the relationship between Jackman and Marie Evans and how it develops. I think we all wanted RA to play Jackman just like Joy Ellis and so I´m really happy about this 🥰,


  10. Just delighted! I enjoyed the audiobooks and love the detective genre but above all we get to see Armitage in front of the camera (as I feared he was slipping behind it) hopefully multiple times and with his so sexy ‘Fennish’ accent . (And hopefully clean shaven. Are detectives allowed beards?) I’m intrigued about who will play the other roles.


  11. I only listened to “Their Lost Daughters” and wasn’t a fan of the way it’s written. At the time I was working double jobs, one of which was sort of manual labour and not requiring to think sort of tasks so I had time to listen to audiobooks and podcasts during work. But since I’m not doing this kind of work anymore and Joy Ellis’ writing style ist not my favorite, these books were not high on my list of priorities. Which I think is actually a good thing now: I rather think I’m gonna enjoy the crime series or movie that RA is going to star in way more if I don’t have a book to compare it to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TLD really wasn’t the best choice for the first Joy Ellis to perform. I thought it was convoluted. But ok, Richard’s voice made up for a lot of that.
      A TV show will be a completely different animal, and with a highly praised writer on board, I am sure they’ll make it into an attractive series.


    • Had the same experience with The Murderer’s Son. Very poorly plotted imo. I couldn’t face trapped being on a long drive (the only time I listen to audiobooks) with another one like that. And I had the same thought: maybe the TV series will be more interesting for me because I haven’t listened to the other titles in the series.


  12. Sounds very good to me as I loved the Jackman&Evans-novels. I must say I’ve now listened to all Joy Ellis books I think with the latest Matt Ballard too. RA is a wonderful narrator but I really liked Henrietta Meire too, the Matt Ballard novels are narrated by Matthew Lloyd Davies who mainly just reads them aloud imo but I survive.


      • …fond of Nikki, Joe and the gang. I listened to the samples for the Matt Ballard ones but didn’t like the narrators (they changed after the first book which is already a point against them in my book). I did listen to Guide Star which is standalone but a sort of spinoff of the Galena books and also enjoyed it. I thought Shiromi Arserio’s narration was good.

        Liked by 1 person

          • I’ve had a couple of Nikki Galena audiobooks in my wishlist for some time, now might be the time to try one with the recommendations here. I’m often reluctant to try new narrators, RA has set the bar so high!

            Liked by 1 person

            • That’s real issue, isn’t it?

              I thought Nicola Walker did an excellent job on Geneva, and would certainly give her another go, but I do give some others a wide berth. (I’m surprised with a few that they were ever given such a job in the first place – some of them grate so badly that I can’t imagine anyone ever wanting to listen to them for more than 5 minutes.)

              I’m so glad Audible let you hear samples, so you can get some idea what you are buying – it’s usually enough to judge whether you at least like their normal voice, if not how well they cope with different characters.


              • I was ambivalent about Nicola Walker in Spooks, or maybe it was more her character of Ruth , but I am enjoying her narration in Geneva.
                Totally agree, there are some woeful narrators out there. It doesn’t matter how much I want to listen to a particular audiobook, if the narrator is poor then purchasing it is out.

                Liked by 1 person

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