Black Narcissus: Gemma Arterton is set to shock in this erotic story about nuns

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Hollie Richardson
Gemma Arterton new TV show

Gemma Arterton will return to our screens in this seriously disturbed adaptation of Black Narcissus. Here’s everything we know so far.

Ever since her breakthrough film role as ice cool head girl Kelly Jones in St Trinian’s, Gemma Arterton has always delivered on top entertainment. She has since starred in blockbusters such as Quantum of Solace and indie hits including Vita and Virginia. And let’s not forget her TV beginnings, playing Elizabeth Bennet in Lost in Austen and the titular role in Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

Now, Arterton is coming back to the small screen with an intriguing three-part drama series. 

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Arterton will star as Sister Clodagh in the BBC adaptation of Rumer Godden’s classic novel Black Narcissus

Sister Clodagh is the leader of the nuns of St Faiths, who travel to Nepal to set up a branch of their order, House of Women, in the remote palace of Mopu. The Sister becomes increasingly attracted to land agent Mr Dean and First World War veteran (Alessandro Nivola). But before they both succumb to their passions, Clodagh is haunted by repressed memories that become entangled with the tragic history of the Princess Srimati folk tale.

As Deadline asks: “Are there really ghosts here in the Himalayas, or are the nuns just succumbing to long-repressed primal desires? And which of them is prepared to die – or kill – for love?”

Black Narcissus was previously adapted for a 1947 film.
Black Narcissus was previously adapted for a 1947 film.

It sounds sexy, spooky and a little bit bonkers – which is why we’re totally into it. And Arterton isn’t the only big name signed up. 

Game of Thrones legend Diana Rigg will play Mother Dorothea. Aisling Franciosi stars as Sister Ruth, And jim Broadbent will portray Father Roberts. 

BAFTA-winning writer Amanda Coe wrote the three hour-long episodes and renowned DP Charlotte Bruus Christensen makes her directing debut.

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“I’m thrilled to be adapting Black Narcissus for BBC One,” said Coe. “It’s a truly extraordinary love story, as well as a brilliantly unsettling piece of 20th century gothic about the power of a place to get under your skin and the dangers of refusing to learn from history.”

An original adaptation was made in 1947, starring Deborah Kerr and Kathleen Byron.

Watch the trailer for the original Black Narcissus film for a taster of what’s to come

The only problem is that we might have to wait a while for the series to air, because filming doesn’t even start until October.

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Images: Getty


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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…