Award-winning director Anthony Minghella is working with Richard Curtis on an adaptation of the bestselling novel The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

Set to screen on BBC1 in March, the TV movie was shot by Cold Mountain director Minghella entirely on location in Botswana, using a script he co-wrote with Notting Hill's Curtis, adapted from Alexander McCall Smith's novel.

Grammy-winner Jill Scott stars as Mma Ramotswe, boss of the only all-female detective agency in Botswana, whose efforts to crack local cases are disrupted when she falls in love with the owner of a local garage (Lucian Msamati).

Oscar-winner Sydney Pollack and Timothy Bricknell produced the film along with Amy Moore, with Anika Noni Rose, David Oyelowo, Idris Alba and Colin Salmon also starring.

Minghella called the production of the film, a Mirage Enterprises production in association with the BBC and The Weinstein Company, an "amazing adventure".

"Particularly fascinating to me was working and filming in an African country where old and new are currently co-existing, where traditional values have not yet been eroded by the demands and efficiencies and neuroses of The Modern," he added.

"It was a privilege to be working on a film which celebrates what we can learn from Africa and not what we think we can teach it."

Jane Tranter, BBC controller of fiction and the voice responsible for commissioning the adaptation, said she was "delighted that such a well loved and unique story as The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is being produced by such an exceptional team".

She continued: "To have both voices and the visual eye of Richard Curtis and Anthony Minghella combined with the stunningly beautiful and striking setting of Botswana is a real privilege for BBC drama and for the BBC1 audience. I'm convinced that viewers will be rewarded with a very special piece of truly epic proportions."

21/02/2008 13:26:07