BBC to remake Buchan classic

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One of the centrepieces of the BBC's Christmas schedule will be a feature-length adaptation of The Thirty-nine Steps, the spy thriller later turned into a film by Alfred Hitchcock, "reimagined" for the Jason Bourne generation.

The BBC is set to unveil its plans for the new version, which will star Spooks actor Rupert Penry-Jones, today before filming begins in Scotland next month.

An instant hit on its publication in 1915, John Buchan's novel features a restless adventurer, Richard Hannay, who meets a man who claims to be a spy. When he finds the man murdered in his flat, Hannay flees for Scotland, where he becomes entangled in a conspiracy which not only threatens his life but could lead to an invasion of Great Britain.

The BBC said the new version would be closer to the book than Hitchcock's 1935 film version starring Robert Donat.

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