Midwinter of the Spirit: What does crime drama mean for ITV?
ITV has never been short of drama. Whether it’s the colossal works of period pieces such as Downton Abbey, tension-fuelled detective series like the formidable Scott & Bailey, or even gruesome murder thrillers including Broadchurch, the channel has always thrived on drama.
It is no surprise then that this is where the popular broadcasting channel is re-investing it’s earnings in the bid for continuous channel domination – especially given the disappointing figures of usual high-earner The X Factor.
Enter Midwinter of the Spirit.
As if the tagline “Evil is everywhere” doesn’t speak enough about what could be coming in this new three-part drama, the ominous promo images and trailers are enough to make your bones chill, in what promises to be another psychological thriller involving murder in a sleepy village (remind you of anything?).
Based on the books by Phil Rickman, and adapted by screenwriter Stephen Volk (Afterlife, The Awakening, Ghostwatch) the drama follows Merrily Watkins (played by the captivating Anna Maxwell Martin), a single mother who is also a vicar and whose newly acquired training has put her on the dark side of the pulpit. She has become one of the few women priests working as an deliverance minister – a job increasingly mistrusted by the modern church and rarely talked about, even though it operates in virtually every diocese in the UK.
Merrily’s knowledge of the paranormal underworld brings her to the notice of local police who need her advice in the investigation of a somewhat grisly murder. However; Merrily herself has been through the mill emotionally of late, losing her unfaithful husband Sean in a car crash and seeking refuge in a job despised by her 16-year-old daughter, Jane, whose rejection of her mother’s beliefs leads her into the path of danger.
With a show that brings in the best of what ITV has to offer, including: David Threlfall (Shameless) who plays Rev Huw Owen, a deliverance ministry tutor and Merrily’s mentor, with Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley, Downton Abbey), Ben Bailey Smith (Law and Order: UK), Leila Mimmack (Becoming Human) and Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones), you can imagine that the channel isn’t holding back, looking to follow in the successes of its previous crime dramas.
And judging from the trailer below – it looks like ITV have made a good bet.
Midwinter of the Spirit starts tonight at 9pm on ITV.