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ITV Encore commissions its first original drama


ITV Encore has commissioned new three-part supernatural crime drama Midwinter of the Spirit from ITV Studios.

Based on the books written by Phil Rickman and adapted by BAFTA winning screenwriter Stephen Volk (Afterlife, The Awakening), the story focuses on Merrily Watkins, a country vicar and one of the few women priests working as an exorcist – a job increasingly mistrusted by the modern Church and rarely talked about, even though it operates in virtually every diocese in the UK.

Merrily comes to the notice of local police who need her advice in the investigation of a grisly murder. Merrily becomes convinced that Satanists are operating in the city.

Merrily 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.

The episodes will be produced by Phil Collinson (Doctor Who, Sea of Souls) and executive produced by Creative Director, ITV Studios in Manchester Kieran Roberts (The Trials of Jimmy Rose, Coronation Street).

ITV’s Director of Drama Commissioning Steve November says: “Midwinter of the Spirit is a contemporary and edgy drama which draws upon dark, pagan forces which are intriguing and spiritually frightening.”

Adding: “We’re delighted to commission three episodes of a potentially returnable crime drama with a supernatural twist.”

Midwinter of the Spirit will begin filming in the Hereford area in April 2015.