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Unforgotten writer pens new ITV Encore drama


ITV has confirmed the cast for new two hour drama, Dark Heart.

Leading the cast of the ITV Encore drama is Tom Riley (Da Vinci’s Demons) as DI Will Wagstaffe, a man haunted by his past – the unresolved murder of his parents.

Written by acclaimed writer Chris Lang (Unforgotten, A Mother’s Son) and based on the novel Suffer the Children by Adam Creed, the series sees DI Will Wagstaffe (known as Staffe), at London City airport when his colleague, DC Josie Chancellor (Anjli Mohindra) calls him to tell him there’s been a gruesome murder.

Staffe, along with Chancellor, DS Dave Pulford (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) and DS Rick Johnson (Tom Brooke), are confronted by a horrific scene – Ray Collins (Mark Fleischmann), a man in his mid thirties, has been tied to his own bed, choked and severely mutilated.

As the team investigate further, they learn Collins was arrested two and a half years ago on suspicion of sexual assault of is own daughters, Holly and Jasmine, who were just nine and eleven at the time, but was released due to insufficient evidence.

Collins’ ex-wife, Debbie Collins (Simone Kirby), who is mother to his daughters, admits she is relieved to hear of his death; grateful that no other child will go through what hers did.

Soon after Collins’ death, a lawyer, Guy Dawlish (Nicholas Asbury), is brutally attacked in a way similar to the one in which Collins was killed. Dawlish was also arrested two years ago following allegations of child sex abuse. There was insufficient evidence so he wasn’t charged.

With two unconvicted paedophiles attacked within days of each other, Staffe fears this could be just the start…

Staffe has an on-off romance with Sylvie (Miranda Raison), but his closest relationship is with his sister Juliette (Charlotte Riley) and seven year old nephew Harry (Joseph Teague), who come to stay with him when Juliette has troubles with her boyfriend Paulo (Edward Akrout).  With no parents and no significant partner of his own, Juliette and Harry mean everything to Staffe, so when he fears Paulo is up to no good, protective Staffe takes matters into his own hands…

ITV’s Controller of Drama, Victoria Fea, said: “As Will Wagstaffe investigates gruesome crimes it’s hard to believe that his personal life could be as complex as his day job, but as we get to know Staffe we realise he’s utterly haunted by his past. Viewers will be left guessing not only who is behind the murders that Staffe is investigating, but also wondering what history lies behind Wagstaffe’s family.”

Dark Heart is an ITV Studios production and directed by Colin Teague (Jekyll & Hyde, Da Vinci’s Demons). Filming will begin in and around London from the end of June until mid July.