Author Peter James has praised the cast of his latest Roy Grace stage adaptation ahead of its homecoming to Brighton next week.

Wish You Were Dead, based on one of Peter’s short stories, is currently touring the country and the Sussex-based detective is set to return to the Theatre Royal.

Now, ahead of the production, the author has applauded the cast in their roles, calling the latest actor to take the Roy Grace mantle as “the best we’ve ever had”.

Speaking about George Rainsford, who starred in the BBC’s Casualty before taking up the role of DS Grace, Peter said: “He’s the best stage Roy Grace we’ve ever had.

The Argus: Peter James, left, and George Rainsford outside the Theatre RoyalPeter James, left, and George Rainsford outside the Theatre Royal (Image: Danny Fitzpatrick)

“George is just brilliant, he brings a level to it. The first step when he was cast was he asked to meet and we talked about how we saw the character for about three hours.

“When John [Simm, who plays Grace in the TV series] took on the role he read all novels, and with George we chatted about how the character has evolved.”

Alongside Rainsford, Peter praised the entire cast including I’m A Celebrity winner Giovanna Fletcher, playing Cleo Morey, and Clive Mantle, who takes on the role of the production’s villain.

The author added that he thought the cast “really get along” and said that their chemistry is “so important in theatre”.


Speaking to George, the actor added that he “hadn’t been on-stage for about 10 years” but that it’s “good to be part of an ensemble again”.

He said: “I’ve always enjoyed the live element of doing a play, the audience reaction, the adrenalin it generates and so on.

“It’s a fantastic role, something I can really get my teeth into.”

Geroge added that the he was excited for the role to provide a bit of tension. The role would also involve a bit of “fisticuffs”, something he is no stranger to after a previous stage accident.

In a role for the RSC in 2009, George took a swing at a colleague for a stage punch only to accidentally connect for real, leaving him in hospital for a week with a hand injury.

Coming to the Theatre Royal on March 20, Peter added that he thought the theatre was perfect for thrillers such as Wish You Were Dead.

He reminisced about how he would often go to the Theatre Royal with his parents when he was younger and dreamed about having something he wrote on the stage.

Now, with another Roy Grace production returning to the theatre, he added that he found it “stunningly beautiful”.

Peter said: “I think that a thriller works really well. The moment one person jumps everyone feels it.

“Wish You Were Dead also has elements of black comedy so you get this lovely mixture of people scared and laughing, you get this massive ripple effect.

“I think the Theatre Royal audience will have a really fun evening.”

Wish You Were Dead is playing at the Theatre Royal in Brighton from Monday, March 20, until March 25.