Andrew Buchan (Garrow’s Law, Cranford), Peter Capaldi (In The Loop, The Thick of It) and rising star Tatiana Maslany (Cra$h & Burn, A Grown Up Movie Star) have been cast in a magical re-telling of the classic Nativity story.

Written by Tony Jordan (Life On Mars, Hustle, EastEnders) for BBC One this Christmas and produced by Red Planet Pictures in association with Kudos through BBC Wales.

Over four half-hour episodes the drama will tell the traditional tale known to millions from a very human perspective. With Mary and Joseph’s enduring love story at the centre this familiar story is given a contemporary twist, as the drama follows Joseph and Mary from their initial courtship – Joseph desperate to win the heart of Mary – to his emotional turmoil at her unexpected pregnancy.

Tony Jordan said: “The challenge for me was to retell a story that has been told countless times before, a story that everyone knows intimately, yet to do so in a way that will still surprise and move you, to see parts of the story you’d never seen before. I really think that we’ve achieved that and I’m incredibly proud to have been asked by the BBC to be involved in such a wonderful project.”

This gripping and vibrant adaptation will show the Nativity from a fresh viewpoint, highlighting how seemingly ordinary people reacted to the extraordinary and miraculous events that befell them.

Rich in colour and humour the remarkable events that led up to Jesus’s birth will unfold across the four nights. From the epic journey of the wise men to the poignant tale of Thomas – a poor shepherd – whose waning faith in God is revived as he kneels beside the crib of the new born king. Jordan’s Nativity is a spectacular Christmas treat for the whole family.

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning added: “We are proud to bring audiences this beautiful story retold for Christmas 2010 by a master story-teller. We hope our version of the Nativity will give audiences all the wonder, magic and inspiration of the original whilst also telling a less familiar tale, that of ordinary people going about their lives with no sense of the enormous importance their story would hold for centuries to come.”

An impressive cast joins Andrew Buchan as Joseph; Tatiana Maslany as Mary and Peter Capaldi as Balthasar. Including: Jack Shepherd (Wycliffe) as Melchior; Obi Abili (The Take) as Gaspar; Art Malik (Agatha Christie: Poirot, Holby City) as Nicolaus; Vincent Regan (Clash Of The Titans) as Herod; John Lynch (Mo, Bleak House) as Gabriel; Claudie Blakely (Lark Rise To Candleford) as Anna; Frances Barbour (Agatha Christie: Poirot, The Street) as Elizabeth; Neil Dudgeon (Life Of Riley) as Joachim; Al Weaver (Five Daughters) as Thomas the Shepherd; Ruth Negga (Five Daughters) as Leah and Gawn Grainger (Lords And Luddites) as Levi.

Filming begins on location in Morocco next month, the drama is produced by Ruth Kenley-Letts, Tony Jordan and Jane Featherstone are Executive Producers for Red Planet Pictures and Bethan Jones is Executive Producer for the BBC. The Nativity was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, and Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One.

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