Based upon C. J. Sansom’s best selling historical mystery novels set in the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century.
The series’ protagonist is the hunchbacked lawyer Matthew Shardlake, who is assisted in his adventures initially by Mark Poer and then by Jack Barak. In Dissolution and Dark Fire, Shardlake works on commission from Thomas Cromwell, then in Sovereign and Revelation from Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, and finally from Queen Catherine Parr in Heartstone.
Since 2012, BBC Radio 4 has broadcast full cast plays of all the tales in the Shardlake series in its 15-Minute Drama radio series. Each has been adapted from Sansom's novels by Colin MacDonald as 10-part serials.
In 2012, Dissolution starred Jason Watkins as Shardlake and Mark Bonnar as Cromwell.
This was followed by Dark Fire in 2014, with Justin Salinger taking over the role of Shardlake and Bryan Dick playing Barak, then Sovereign in 2015, Revelation in 2017, Heartstone in 2018, and Lamentation in 2021.
The full cast dramas also feature Robert Glenister, Sam Dale, Sean Baker, Emily Wachter and Jessica Hardwick.