ITV has commissioned drama label Silverprint Pictures to produce six-part drama series Dark Heart starring Tom Riley as DI Will Wagstaffe, a man haunted by the murder of his parents when he was 16 years old.
Set in London, the series is written for ITV by acclaimed screenwriter Chris Lang whose work includes award-winning drama Unforgotten, Torn, Undeniable and A Mother’s Son. Dark Heart is inspired by characters created by novelist Adam Creed, who has written a series of books featuring Will Wagstaffe.
The six-part series is the first commission for Kate Bartlett’s new drama label, Silverprint Pictures, formerly ITV Studios Drama London, who are the team responsible for ITV’s multi-award winning drama Vera starring Brenda Blethyn and Kenny Doughty, which returns to the channel for an eighth series in January.
Filming will begin on Dark Heart in early spring 2018, with Chris Lang writing the first two-part story, Ben Harris (Marcella, The Musketeers) writing the second two-part story, with Chris writing episodes five and six.
Polly Hill, ITV’s Head of Drama, commented, ‘We’re thrilled Tom Riley has agreed to return as Will Wagstaffe in Dark Heart. As the central character, he has immersed himself in police work to seek some form of closure for what has happened in his past. It’s a gritty, emotionally driven thriller from Chris Lang which I’m only too pleased to recommission from Kate Bartlett’s new drama label.’
Whilst devoting his life to his work, Will Wagstaffe, also known as Staffe to his colleagues, battles personal demons. He’s haunted by the unresolved murder of his parents, which affects both his private and professional life including his on-off romance with sometimes girlfriend, Sylvie, played by Miranda Raison. His closest relationship is with his sister Juliette, played by Charlotte Riley, and young nephew Harry, who stays with him when Juliette has troubles with her boyfriend.
With no parents and no significant partner of his own, Juliette and Harry mean everything to Staffe. Determined and tenacious, Wagstaffe is an exceptionally good police officer, in spite of the fact he’s been known for pushing the boundaries of what’s considered acceptable policing.
The drama will once again be executive produced by Chris Lang, Kate Bartlett (Vera, Shetland) and Michael Dawson (Vera, Holby City). The producer is Letitia Knight (Vera) and the director is Colin Teague (Jekyll & Hyde, Da Vinci’s Demons).
Silverprint Pictures’ Kate Bartlett said, ‘Wagstaffe is an uncompromising, contemporary drama which perfectly complements the Silverprint Pictures drama slate. Chris Lang has written truly compelling and atmospheric scripts and we’re delighted that Tom Riley is playing Will Wagstaffe.’
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