EXCLUSIVE: Trauma producer Tall Story Pictures has received a double commission from the UK’s ITV, including a second-season renewal of crime thriller Bancroft and an order for new thriller, The Bay. The latter is a six-part contemporary drama penned by award winning writer and playwright Daragh Carville (Being Human, The Smoke). ITV Studios Global Entertainment is handling international distribution on both series and is in discussions with a number of U.S. buyers on The Bay. Bancroft will launch in the U.S. on streaming service Britbox later this year as will the Mike Bartlett-created Trauma, which just began airing in the UK last night.

Tall Story

The Bay is set in the coastal town of Morecambe Bay and centers on Detective Sergeant Lisa Armstrong who is assigned to a missing persons investigation in the unique village. At first it seems like any other tragic, but all too familiar case, and as a police Family Liaison Officer, Armstrong is trained never to get emotionally involved. But there’s something very different about this particular case when she realizes she has a personal connection to the frightened family — one that could compromise her and the investigation.

Tall Story Creative Director and The Bay executive producer Catherine Oldfield says, “Daragh has written a fantastic contemporary crime story with a flawed but entirely relatable heroine at its heart.” The greenlight from the network comes not long after Oldfield took over running the ITV Studios-owned label. It “ties into what Tall Story is aiming to do,” she tells me, “make really big quality writer-driven character pieces.”

The Bay will begin prep in June for a summer shoot and Oldfield is out to directors, while also casting up. She’s hoping to attract big talent for a show that has “really nice juicy parts” and a large ensemble. She says, “I truly believe if you place the writer at the heart of a show, you’ll get the best scripts and the best directors and the best actors wanting to be in it.”

The Bay is eyed as a returnable with “characters and a world that are really rich. We’re already talking about how it could go to season 6,” Oldfield marvels.

Says ITV Head of Drama Polly Hill, “It’s always a challenge to find a fresh take on crime, but Daragh Carville has written a very real crime story about family and community, which is distinctive, compelling and beautifully crafted.”

Tall Story Pictures

Meanwhile, Bancroft, the ITV miniseries created by Kate Brooke, is returning. The new four-part Bancroft II will be written by Brooke (Mr Selfridge) who will also exec produce alongside Oldfield. The series was one of ITV’s best performing dramas of 2017 with an average 6.7M viewers and a 25.1 share. Season 2 goes into production later this year.

Sarah Parish plays ruthless detective Elizabeth Bancroft in the lead role with the new installments focusing on her continued success following her promotion to Detective Chief Superintendent. But that success comes at a price, as she’s lonely and estranged from her beloved son Joe and under pressure as a result of her dangerous pact with crime boss Daanish Kamara. When Joe is inadvertently dragged into the middle of a double murder case, Bancroft determines to do anything to protect him and finds herself up against a chilling new antagonist.

Oldfield comments, “That the audience took to Elizabeth Bancroft in all her terrible, distorted glory in such numbers is fantastic. Kate has loads of brilliant twists and turns in store for this new series and I can’t wait to see what Sarah and the cast do with them.”

Brooke’s contentious anti-heroine is “a woman we love and loathe in equal measure,” says the creator/writer. “In this new series, the repercussions of her past actions will come back to bite her in ways she could never have expected.”