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MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! The Lady Vanishes

Airs Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Tuppence Middleton as Iris Carr and Tom Hughes as Max. A young socialite suspects foul play when a woman inexplicably disappears from a train, in a stylish and suspenseful new adaptation of the classic thriller "The Lady Vanishes."

Returning home on a train from vacation, beautiful young socialite Iris Carr is befriended by an Englishwoman she knows only as "Miss Froy." When Iris falls asleep she awakens to find Miss Froy missing and her fellow passengers denying she ever existed. Is Iris going mad or did the encounter really take place?

Courtesy of (C) Egon Endrenyi/BBC for MASTERPIECE

Selina Cadell as Miss Froy and Tuppence Middleton as Iris Carr. A young socialite suspects foul play when a woman inexplicably disappears from a train, in a stylish and suspenseful new adaptation of the classic thriller "The Lady Vanishes."

Courtesy of (C) Egon Endrenyi/BBC for MASTERPIECE

Keeley Hawes as Laura Parmiter and Julian Rhind-Tutt as Mr. Todhunter. A young socialite suspects foul play when a woman inexplicably disappears from a train, in a stylish and suspenseful new adaptation of the classic thriller "The Lady Vanishes."

Courtesy of (C) Phil Fisk/BBC for MASTERPIECE

Tom Hughes as Max and Tuppence Middleton as Iris Carr. A young socialite suspects foul play when a woman inexplicably disappears from a train, in a stylish and suspenseful new adaptation of the classic thriller "The Lady Vanishes."

MASTERPIECE puts a new spin on this familiar story in "The Lady Vanishes." Adapted from Ethel Lina White's 1936 novel "The Wheel Spins"—filmed by Alfred Hitchcock as "The Lady Vanishes"—the new MASTERPIECE/BBC co-production is set against the tense backdrop of the Balkans of the 1930s and deftly weaves together the stories of a colorful trainload of characters brought to life by a stellar international cast.

It is 1931. Iris (Tuppence Middleton, INSPECTOR LEWIS) is the darling of her social circle. While on holiday with friends in the Balkans, Iris decides to escape her friends' raucous partying and travel home to London alone. Her expectations of peace are short-lived when she faints on the platform of the railway station in the scorching heat. She wakes in time to be rushed on to the train but with a pounding head and the feeling of being on the verge of a dream.

Finally seated, Iris is comforted by Miss Froy (Selina Cadell, DOC MARTIN), whose tweed suit and bookish looks belie a jovial and adventurous spirit. Comfort soon turns to horror when Miss Froy mysteriously disappears. With only the support of the infatuated young engineer Max Hare (Tom Hughes, SILK), Iris maintains the conviction that Miss Froy has somehow been abducted. But who would want to snatch a seemingly harmless Englishwoman?

As fellow passengers refute Iris' story and threatening figures emerge to disprove Miss Froy's existence, Iris' unswerving certitude takes on the appearance of madness, and she finds herself struggling for her sanity—and for her life.

Other members of the cast include Keeley Hawes ("Upstairs Downstairs") as the cynical mistress of the ambitious Sir Peveril (Julian Rhind-Tutt, "Any Human Heart"), Danish actress Benedikte Hansen as the sinister Baroness, and Gemma Jones ("Bridget Jones' Diary") and Stephanie Cole (DOC MARTIN) as spinsterly sisters yearning to get home to their garden.

"The Lady Vanishes" is a BBC/MASTERPIECE co-production, adapted by Fiona Seres from the novel "The Wheel Spins" by Ethel Lina White. It was directed by Diarmuid Lawrence ("Little Dorrit"). The producer is Ann Tricklebank. The executive producers are Anne Pivcevic for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE.

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The Lady Vanishes Preview

See a preview of "The Lady Vanishes" on PBS's MASTERPIECE.

A Scene from The Lady Vanishes

Watch a scene from The Lady Vanishes before it airs Sunday, August 18, 2013, at 9pm ET on PBS's MASTERPIECE.