Friday, August 24, 2012

ITV Renews Law & Order UK; Agyeman & Walter Not Returning

ITV press release
Published: Friday, 24 August 2012, 2:59PM

ITV recommissions Vera, Scott and Bailey and Law & Order: UK

Successful dramas - Vera, Scott and Bailey and Law & Order: UK - have been recommissioned by ITV1 - which will see the outstanding talent of Brenda Blethyn, David Leon, Bradley Walsh, Paul Nicholls, Dominic Rowan, Peter Davison, Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp and Amelia Bullmore reprise their roles.

Series three of Vera starring Oscar nominated actress Brenda Blethyn, set once again in Northumberland and Newcastle, is back in production this September. Filming of four x 120 films will be inspired by the best selling novels and characters created by acclaimed crime writer Ann Cleeves.

Adapted for ITV1 by the ITV Studios drama team with series co-creator Paul Rutman (Vera, Marple, Lewis), Vera is written by Paul and fellow writers Gaby Chiappe (Vera, Lark Rise to Candleford, Survivors), and Oliver Brown (New Tricks, Silent Witness, Spooks) with a fourth writer to be brought on board closer to production. Vera is produced by the ITV Studios Drama team headed by Creative Director, Kate Bartlett.

For this new series previous producer Elaine Collins has taken on the responsibility of executive producer whilst Margaret Mitchell is producing. Paul Cotter (Shameless, Hollyoaks) will direct the first episode.

Having created an iconic television detective, Brenda reprises her lead role of Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope and will film the new episodes until mid January. David Leon who plays Vera’s trusty sidekick and surrogate son Joe Ashworth will also return to film the new episodes.

"We’re delighted to be back in production with Vera and working with Brenda and David again," said Elaine Collins. "Despite her apparent chaotic approach to cracking crime, Vera is actually a very good detective albeit one driven by her own demons. We like to keep the viewers guessing as to what she’ll do and say next as she’s certainly a character who knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to speak it. We’re grateful that viewers have taken her to their hearts so quickly," she added.

The enormously successful team at Kudos Film and Television and Wolf Films who produce Law & Order: UK for ITV1 return to production this November to film 8 x 60 new episodes based on the globally popular US drama.  

Bradley Walsh reunites with Paul Nicholls to bring the successful partnership of DS Ronnie Brooks and DS Sam Casey to screen once more. Dominic Rowan as Chief Prosecutor Jacob Thorne and Peter Davison as respected Director of the Crown Prosecution Service, Henry Sharpe, will resume their roles with the intention of restoring ‘order’ to proceedings.

Due to filming and theatre commitments Freema Agyeman and Harriet Walters will not return to film the new series. Consequently, Kudos are casting for a new young, prosecutor and Detective Chief Inspector.

"We are incredibly excited about our new series," said executive producer Jane Featherstone. "Consequently, we have some brilliant and surprising storylines for the cast and we look forward to filming," she added.

Law & Order: UK will be produced by Jane Hudson (Hustle, Waterloo Road, Robin Hood) who will also write an episode of the drama. Kudos Film and Television Creative Director Jane Featherstone (Law & Order: UK, Spooks, The Hour) executive produces the series.

In a departure for the series the first two episodes will be a compelling two-part story written by Emilia di Girolamo (Law & Order: UK – writer and co-producer, Eastenders) with the second episode exploring ‘a day in the life’ of the characters. A suicidal man drives his car across a railway crossing causing the train to crash and killing 12 people. The investigation takes on several twists as the law and order teams pursue the case with vigour and determination to uncover the truth of the situation.

Subsequent episodes in this series will be written by Nick Hicks-Beech (Law & Order: UK, Eastenders), Noel Farragher (Above Suspicion: The Red Dahlia – script editor, Trial & Retribution - script associate) and former Law & Order: UK producer Richard Stokes (Silk - producer, Torchwood - producer).

The episodes will be directed by Alrick Riley (Hustle, Spooks, Hunted), Jill Robertson (Lip Service, Casualty, Waterloo Road) and Joss Agnew (Young Dracula, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Waterloo Road) with a fourth director to be contracted closer to filming.

Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp will also return to their roles as formidable crime-fighting duo Scott & Bailey for the third series.

The Red Production Company will begin principal photography in November on location in Manchester.

Written and co-created by Sally Wainwright (Last Tango in Halifax, Unforgiven, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard), eight episodes have been commissioning by ITV’s Director of Drama Commissioning Laura Mackie and Controller of Drama Commissioning Sally Haynes.

In addition to Sally’s scripts she will be joined again this series by Amelia Bullmore who will write two episodes of the drama. Amelia plays Scott & Bailey’s no nonsense DCI, Gill Murray, who like Sally is immersed in the characters, their lives, personalities and backgrounds.

Sally will also co-executive produce the series with Nicola Shindler (The Syndicate, Blackout, Leaving), who is Director of Red Production Company.

"Scott & Bailey has been such a phenomenal success and we’re thrilled to be revisiting the characters," said Nicola. "A third series really gives us the scope to explore another raft of great stories as we’re constantly thinking about how we can develop the characters. The fact Scott & Bailey has become so successful is very rewarding for Sally and our production team," she added.

Set within Syndicate 9, a division of the Manchester Metropolitan Police, Scott & Bailey is based on an idea by Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay.

Tom Sherry (Scott & Bailey, New Tricks, Murphy’s Law) will return as producer for this series and the directors are Morag Fullerton (Scott & Bailey, Taggart, Rebus) and Sarah Harding (Torn, Lewis, Poirot).

Commented Laura Mackie on confirming the recommissions: "We’re delighted to have Law & Order: UK, Vera and Scott & Bailey back in production. The recommissions show that we have a really strong slate of returning series coming to ITV in the next 12 months which complements perfectly with the new drama we’re commissioning."

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Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.


gahks said...

I was lucky enough to meet Dominic Rowan at Shakespeare's Globe in London earlier this year. We talked endlessly about the show, crime and doing TV as opposed to theatre (at the time, he was rehearsing for a new production of 'A Doll's House' by Ibsen). Got his autograph naturally! He's a very interesting guy and I look forward to seeing him back on my TV set!

Chris Zimmer said...

Wow - that sounds like it was exciting! I'm glad he's staying with the show, I grew to like him more with each episode, and it will be interesting to see who they get to replace Freema.

gahks said...

Back when I was conceiving my own London version of the 'Law & Order' show (and this was way before ITV1 beat me to it), I wanted veteran comic actress Meera Syal to play the commanding police officer. I'd seen her in 'Shirley Valentine' in London and knew she could hold an audience for 90 minutes several days a week, and thought that if I were a producer, I'd put this role to her to give her a bit of a challenge and a change from doing comedy. The role would be a moodier character than any woman we've so far seen on the 'Law & Order' franchise, but no less dedicated and strong-willed.

Freema's departure clears the way for a great new name to grace our screens. I would like to see a willingness to experiment with (relative) unknowns and ethnic minorities. Alana de la Garza on the original, for example, was a wonderful discovery.

idiotdogbrain said...

You have made my year. I figured it wouldn't be renewed, it has been so long. I'm going to do the happy dance!