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First look: Joan

Looking for your next TV obsession? We can help. While putting together our list of this year’s unmissable crime dramas, we discovered a show that might prove to be the jewel in British TV’s 2024 crown. Introducing: Joan.

What’s Joan about?

This glamorous-looking TV project is based on the true story of Joan Hannington: a former British jewel thief who became infamous for her criminal activities in the 1980s and ‘90s. Often referred to as ‘The Godmother’ or ‘The Queen of Thieves,’ Hannington was known for her sophisticated heists and ability to evade capture.

The new series will follow Hannington’s transformation from housewife and mother to petty offender, diamond thief and – eventually – criminal mastermind in 1980s London.

ITV calls Joan “a fiery, uncompromising and intoxicating character, who is not without her own deep scars and vulnerability. She’s a doting and loving young mother to four-year-old Debbie,” who’s trapped in “a disastrous marriage to a violent thug, and when he goes on the run, Joan seizes the moment to leave her old life.”

Who’s behind Joan?

On main writing duties is the BAFTA-nominated screenwriter Anna Symon. Her CV boasts the likes of Mrs. Wilson, The Essex Serpent, Deep Water and Indian Summers.

Behind the camera is the BAFTA award-winning director Richard Laxton. He’s been in the director’s chair for some TV gold in recent years, helping bring the looks of Rain Dogs and The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe to our screens. He also directed the BBC Four TV film Hancock and Joan, about Tony Hancock and Joan Le Mesurier.

The cast

Joan is set to be headed up by a pretty hefty name from the acting world: the sparkling Sophie Turner. Made famous by her memorable performance as Sansa Stark in HBO’s fantasy smash hit Game of Thrones, the 28-year-old quickly and smoothly transitioned to becoming a sizeable and bankable film star, as proven by her appearances in blockbuster movies such as X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix. In 2022, Turner also appeared in the star-studded crime series The Staircase opposite Colin Firth and Toni Collette.

Opposite Sophie Turner is Frank Dillane. The handsome Londoner is probably best known for his roles as Nick Clark in Fear the Walking Dead and Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. He has also appeared in TV shows such as Sense8 and Renegade Nell. Dillane plays Joan’s criminal husband, Boise Hannington.

Filling out the cast are the likes of Kirsty J. Curtis, Mia Millichamp-Long, Caroline Faber, Gershwyn Eustache Jr., Tomi May, Laura Aikman and Alex Blake.

How many episodes will Joan have?

The series will comprise of six episodes. As with most dramas of its kind, each episode will last around 50 minutes.

There is, of course, the potential that – if it’s successful and the writers and producers can see a future for it – Joan could find itself commissioned for an extra series.

Where will I be able to watch it and when is it on?

In the UK, Joan will be shown on ITV1. Eager fans won’t have too long to wait now until they can start enjoying the action. An exact broadcast date is yet to be released, although ITV have confirmed that Joan will be aired and made available on ITVX this Autumn.

In the US, Joan will be aired on The CW. It starts on 2nd October over there and will run weekly.

What they’re saying about Joan

Not long after the show was first teased, Sophie Turner released a statement about her being cast as Joan. She said: “I’m so excited to be bringing Joan Hannington’s fascinating life story to screen in Joan. She is one of the most notorious figures in the criminal underworld of London, earning her the nickname ‘The Godmother’.

“A woman who goes between her thriving and daring career as a jewel thief, all while trying to get her daughter back from social services, we see a mother in despair swept up in the exhilarating world of crime.”

The CW’s Entertainment chief is a man called Brad Schwartz. He’s so convinced that Joan will not only be a hit with the public but with critics too that he’s already gone on the record describing the series as ‘awards bait’. He went on to elaborate: “The dailies look amazing, Sophie Turner is phenomenal… I’m really, really excited about that one.”

Director Richard Laxton has said: “I am so excited to bring this story and Anna’s astounding script to life. With Sophie Turner in the title role and the 1980’s as a rich and vibrant backdrop, Joan is sure to be an exhilarating and compelling ride.”

Will you be tuning in for Joan? Let us know your expectations for this potential diamond of a crime drama below…

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