Last night’s BBC adaptation of JB Priestley’s classic thriller play An Inspector Calls was just that: thrilling.

Starring David Thewlis as Inspector Goole himself, Kevin Stott as Birling and Miranda Richardson as Mrs Birling, the star-studded cast was set up for success from the word go. Alongside them was the award-winning director Aisling Walsh and critically acclaimed playwright Helen Edmundson. The adaptation is part of the BBC’s series of twentieth century literature adaptations and it really did do Priestley’s iconic play justice.

The BBC’s adaptation of An Inspector Calls follows the journey of a young girl named Eva Smith and how her suicide was caused by the consecutive actions of one family – the Birlings. Eva Smith or Daisy Renton (depending on who you are and when you knew her) is seen in the adaptation alive during each of the events that lead to her suicide, something not originally in Priestley’s play. However, these flashbacks were written and acted with extreme dignity and respect for the original character and play and they fit with this more modern adaptation of the classic extremely well.

Inspector Goole and Mrs Birling are the hardest two characters to cast in any adaptation of An Inspector Calls, as the characters have to be played in a special way if the production is to have an effect on the audience. David Thewlis as the Inspector was a fantastic casting choice and in his own right gives Goole an eerie yet powerful presence. You know that he is there overseeing things even when he isn’t in the shot. As well as Thewlis, Miranda Richardson captures the coldness of Mrs Birling perfectly and harnesses her unforgiving nature. Richardson’s Mrs Birling is very much how you imagine the character to be when you read Priestley’s creation.

An Inspector Calls is naturally an outstanding production whenever it is performed – on TV or in a theatre. But An Inspector Calls becomes an effortlessly outstanding production when the casting is right. Edmundson’s adaptation is elegant and fresh. The flashbacks to Eva/Daisy’s troubled times give more of an insight to how truly awful her life was and it is a welcome part of the BBC’s production.

Nowadays, An Inspector Calls is just as relevant and poignant as it was all those years ago in 1912. Hopefully its tragic but necessary ending will be just as heart-wrenching and accessible to the millions who watched it last night.