Stefanie Martini will follow in the footsteps- or should that be pave the way- of Helen Mirren after being chosen to play the young Jane Tennison in ITV’s new drama Tennison. Mirren portrayed the iconic police officer in Lynda La Plante’s Prime SuspectRising star Martini has a number of credits already, including Doctor Thorne and Emerald City.

Also in the cast is Sam Reid (The Riot Club) and Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners). The 6 x 60 minute series portrays the young Tennison at the beginning of her career, revealing how and why she became such a complex and formidable character in the Metropolitan Police. Reid and Blake play Tennison’s superiors DCI Len Bradfield and DS Spencer Gibbs. Alun Armstrong (Little Dorrit), Ruth Sheen (Unforgotten), Lex Shrapnel (Medici: Masters of Florence) and Jay Taylor (Promise) have also been cast as crime family members Clifford, Renee, John and David Bentley.

Rhonda Smith produces and David Caffrey directs. Martini is repped by Troika Talent.

La Plante came up with the idea for a prequel series based on her latest novel of the same name which will be published last year. Set in the 1970s, as female police constables are being uneasily ‘integrated’ into the force, the story introduces 22-year-old Jane, a probationary officer in a world where high-ranking male officers were notoriously chauvinistic. Single-minded and ambitious, if a touch naïve, her dedicated and instinctive approach to her career is evident from the start. She is thrown in at the deep end, drawn into a brutal murder investigation, and experiences first-hand London’s violent criminal ganglands. Tennison works alongside senior investigating officer DCI Bradfield, and sees the devastating effects violent crime has on the victim’s family, as well as experiencing tragic ramifications herself.

The original Prime Suspect was produced by Granada Television for ITV with instalments 4-7 co-produced by WGBH Boston for the Masterpiece Mystery anthology series. La Plante won an Edgar for Best TV Feature or Miniseries in 1993. The series won a Peabody the same year and ultimately scored three Emmys for Outstanding Mini, as well as receiving several BAFTAs.

Tennison is co-produced by La Plante Global and Robert Wulff-Cochrane and Camilla Campbell’s Noho Film and Television. Campbell and Wulff-Cochrane are exec producing with La Plante. ITV Studios Global Entertainment is selling internationally.