BBC McCall Smith bonanza

<p>Alexander McCall Smith&#39;s&nbsp; The No 1 Ladies&#39; Detective Agency series is returning to the BBC with TV and radio projects lined up for Christmas and the new year. The BBC1 series of six 60-minute episodes will be based on McCall Smith&#39;s novels (Abacus), and is being filmed on location in Botswana. It was written by Nicholas Wright and Robert Jones and directed by Charles Sturridge and Tim Fywell. It continues from the feature-length, one-off film production of the first novel, <em>The No 1 Ladies&#39; Detective Agency</em>, which was directed by the late Anthony Minghella and broadcast in March, attracting 6.9 million viewers. Singer Jill Scott is returning to star in the new series, with &quot;Survivors&quot; star Paterson Joseph to join.</p><p>Producer Timothy Bricknell said: &quot;We were thrilled with the reception to the film from critics and BBC viewers. Anthony was so proud of the project and would have been delighted to see it do so well.&quot; He added: &quot;We are determined to ensure the series lives up to his vision.&quot;</p><p>The TV series is a Mirage Enterprises and Cinechicks production in association with the BBC, HBO Entertainment and The Weinstein Company, for broadcast in winter 2009.</p><p>Meanwhile, <em>The Miracle at Speedy Motors</em> (Abacus), the ninth book in the series, is to be broadcast as a 90-minute radio drama, written by McCall Smith, on BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Day. His Second World War love story <em>La&#39;s Orchestra Saves the World</em> (Polygon, 1st November) will also be BBC Radio 4&#39;s &quot;Book at Bedtime&quot; in the week commencing 8th December.<br /><br /></p>