Is 'Vienna Blood' Based On A True Story? This BBC Two Drama Brings The Novels Of Frank Tallis To Life
Get ready for a series to fill all your Sherlock needs, because one of its writers is back with a brand new detective drama. Steve Thompson is bringing the novels of Frank Tallis to life in Vienna Blood, which follows the story of an Austrian detective who studied under one of the world's most famous psychoanalysts. But is Vienna Blood based on a true story?
Based on Tallis's Liebermann book series, the story follows the fictional detective Max Liebermann (played by Matthew Beard) who uses his psychoanalytic skills to uncover the mysteries swirling around 1900s Vienna. Liebermann initially worked as a doctor, but after Oskar Rheinhardt (Juergen Maurer), an Austrian Detective Inspector asks for his help on a case, he becomes entangled in "some of Vienna's most mysterious and deadly cases," as the BBC describes.
Tallis also incorporates a few real-life figures into the story, including psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud who Liebermann studied under. That's as far as the true story aspect of the series goes, as the rest is Tallis's fictional creation."I have three passions in life: Psychoanalysis, music and cake. So, the idea of writing Viennese thrillers in which a doctor-detective attends musical events and visits coffee houses was always very appealing," Tallis told the BBC in a press statement.
"Needless to say, I took my research very seriously, visiting the coffee houses of Vienna with great frequency and now I really know my [Austrian cakes] Punschkrapfen from my Kaiserschmarren."
Tallis decided not to be that involved with the production of the series, as "[n]ovelists are very attached to their work and tend to have fixed ideas about how it should be translated to screen," as he explained. He did consult on "minor plot details and historical and technical" accuracies, but other than that the adaptation was left in the hands of the actors, Thompson, and the crew of Vienna Blood.
Even though Tallis took a backseat for the adaptation, the amount of detail he created resonated with the Vienna Blood's writer. "The period detail in the novels is phenomenal. It's just dripping in detail," Thompson told The Herald. "It was an incredibly vital time for the history of Vienna — so much was changing." He continued:
"This was the birth of modernism, the clash between the modern and the old cultures was happening, not only in medicine, psychology, but also in music, art and architecture, and that clash, that richness of culture, Frank sums up so beautifully."
Vienna Blood starts Monday (Nov. 18) at 9 p.m. on BBC Two.