Endeavour. Pic: ITV
Fictional series and thrillers are scarce during the holiday silly season. But broadcasters have plenty in production and are hoarding shows for September and on through autumn.
There are some hugely popular shows coming back, and a few intriguing new crime dramas on the way. Here's a rundown from my blog CRIMETIMEPREVIEW…
The BBC is throwing most of the brand-new stuff out there. There's Savage by Stephen Butchard, about a Liverpool beat cop who witnesses the murder of his closest friend and is torn between his sense of duty and a compulsion for revenge.
May Day is a five-part BBC thriller, written by Ben Court and Caroline Ip (Whitechapel), about a young girl whose disappearance spreads suspicion through a community.
The Fuse sees a politician wake up after an alcoholic night to realise he could be responsible for a murder. Daniel Demoys has gone from being an idealistic young man to a corrupt council official. Can Daniel redeem himself? This BBC1 psychological thriller is slated for 2012.
Inside Men is a BBC four-parter about security depot employees who decide the rip the place off in a £15m heist. Starring Steven Mackintosh (Camelot, Luther), Ashley Walters (Outcasts), Warren Brown (Luther) and Kierston Wareing (The Shadow Line).
Death in Paradise stars Ben Miller and French star Sara Martins in an eight-part BBC production with France Televisions. It's about a quintessential English cop posted to the Caribbean island of Sainte Marie. While to anyone else the job is paradise, to Richard Poole (Miller) it's hell. The actors says, 'Death in Paradise is my dream job – a fascinating character, great scripts, superb cast and shooting in the Caribbean with French catering.'
Undisclosed is a four-part BBC1 thriller starring Philip Glenister (Mad Dogs, Life on Mars) as a small-time solicitor, Harry Venn, who is forced to delve into his murky past involving the death of his brother 12 years ago. This complex thriller, written by Ronan Bennett, also stars David Suchet.
Top of the Lake is an atmospheric new multi-part drama series for BBC2 from Oscar-winning writer/director Jane Campion (The Piano, Sweetie, Portrait of a Lady, In the Cut, Bright Star).
Featuring remote, mountainous New Zealand, it's a haunting story about a search for happiness in a paradise where honest work is hard to find. A 12-year-old girl stands chest deep in a frozen lake. She is five months pregnant, and won't say who the father is, insisting it was 'no one'. Then she disappears. Robin Griffin, the investigating detective, will find this is the case that tests her to her limits…
Sherlock – another three episodes are in the pipeline for airing in 2012, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes along with Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss, Una Stubbs and Rupert Graves. Showrunner Steven Moffat says, 'The three stories will be called A Scandal in Belgravia, The Hounds of the Baskervilles and The Reichenbach Fall.'
Dirk Gently is another much-loved classic that will return after its modest try-out last December on BBC4. Three hour-long stories about Douglas Adams' holistic detective will also go out next year.
Meanwhile, ITV have recommissioned a huge number of crime series after their initial success.
Whitechapel, with Rupert Penry-Jones, is filming now, 'bigger and bolder than before', according to its produces, David Boulter. Having tackled Jack the Ripper and the Krays, the series has pulled in more than eight-million viewers in the past. Of the new season, Boulter says, 'Gruesome present day investigations summon the ghosts of the past, screaming and restless.'
Above Suspicion will return for a fourth series, with Kelly Reilly and Miaran Hinds. 'Silent Scream' is being adapted by Lynda La Plante from her successful novel about detective Anna Travis. The story follows the brutal murder of a British film star and tabloid favourite called Amanda Delany.
Lewis – which regulars notches up more than seven-million viewers – has been recommissioned. The three new films are called 'Generation of Vipers', 'The Age of Follishness', and 'Death of the Author'.
DCI Banks, based on the novels of Peter Robinson, will return after its two-part special last year. While the show, starring Stephen Tomkinson, picked up decent ratings of almost seven million, it was hardly a huge critical success. But ITV saw enough in it to commission a further six episodes (split into three stories – 'Playing with Fire', 'Friend of the Devil', 'Cold Is the Grave').
Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn, will be back in four new cases set in Northumberland and Newcastle.
Scott & Bailey will go back into production in October, filming eight new stories with Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp.
Case Sensitive – as revealed by author Sophie Hannah in her CrimeTimePreview interview, DS Charlie Zailer (Olivia Williams) and DC Simon Waterhouse (Darren Boyd) will return in a new two-part story.
Endeavour – and ITV is also making this prequel to Morse, starring Shaun Evans as the young Morse during the 1960s. The actor says, 'Morse as a young man is a wonderful character that I'm very excited to be playing.'
Kidnap and Ransom, with Trevor Eve as international hostage negotiator Dominic King, is coming back for a second outing. Filming (by Eve's production company, Projector Pictures) will begin in South Africa in September.
Appropriate Adult Slated for September, this ITV factual drama entitled focuses on the untold story of how Fred and Rosemary West were brought to justice. It's set in the period of time between Fred West’s arrest and his suicide on New Year’s Day 1995 and how he confided in Janet Leach who took the role of the 'appropriate adult' during his police interviews. 'Appropriate adults' are appointed to sit in on police interviews with children or vulnerable adults to safeguard their interests. Dominic West (The Wire, 300) will play Fred West, and Emily Watson (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Gosford Park) takes the role of Janet Leach. The award-winning production team responsible for See No Evil: The Moors Murders, This Is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, The Murder of Stephen Lawrence and Wall of Silence, will produce the drama written by Neil McKay, executive produced by Jeff Pope and produced by Lisa Gilchrist.
Sky Atlantic has a really intriguing new series in production called Hit and Miss. This is created by Paul Abbott (Exile, Shameless, State of Play, Touching Evil) and stars Chloe Sevigny in the lead as Mia, a contract killer with a secret – she's a transgender woman. Also starring Peter Wight, Jonas Armstrong and Vincent Regan. This six-parter will air in 2012.
Meanwhile, the second season of Boardwalk Empire will return.
Sky1 is also making another four episodes of Mad Dogs for 2012. Max Beesley, Philip Glenister, John Simm and Marc Warren have all signed for the new series.