The British commercial broadcaster has ordered Grace, a co-production between Jekyll & Hyde producer Tall Story Pictures, Second Act Productions, which produced ITV’s The Nightly Show and Derren Brown’s Vaudeville Productions.
The series will comprise two feature-length episodes and will be based on James’ first two Roy Grace books Dead Simple and Looking Good Dead, which introduce Brighton-based Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, a hard-working police officer who has given his life to the job.
Simm, who also starred in HBO’s first Game of Thrones prequel pilot, will play the tenacious detective.
The drama opens with Grace’s career at rock bottom. He’s fixated by the disappearance of his wife, Sandy, which haunts his thoughts. He’s in the last chance saloon running enquiries into long forgotten cold cases with little prospect of success. Following another reprimand for his unorthodox police methods, Grace is walking a career tightrope and risks being moved from the job he loves most. With so much at stake, his colleague Detective Sergeant Glenn Branson knows he has more to give and asks him for help with a case. When a stag night prank appears to go wrong and the groom goes missing, Branson calls upon Grace to unravel events that led to the mysterious disappearance three days before his wedding to his beautiful fiancé. A successful property developer with everything to live for, there is no trace of the missing groom. Is this a case of stag night shenanigans gone badly awry? Or is this something more sinister? With nothing but instinct, a lingering suspicion and his obsessive nature, Grace doggedly pursues the groom’s disappearance and becomes uneasily close to the bride to be.
It marks the first scripted series for Second Act Productions, which is part of the ITV production group Cats on the Roof Media. Exec producers of the series, which starts filming in early 2020, include Andrew O’Connor and Paul Sandler for Second Act Productions, Patrick Schweitzer for Tall Story Pictures, Michael Vine for Vaudeville Productions, and Lewis and James. The first film, Dead Simple, will be directed by John Alexander (Belgravia) with the second film, Looking Good Dead, directed by Julia Ford (Sticks and Stones).
It was commissioned by ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, and Drama Commissioner, Huw Kennair Jones. Kennair Jones will oversee production of the drama from the channel’s perspective. ITV Studios GE will handle international distribution.
“Each story is a fantastic, hair-raising, twisting, switch-back of a roller-coaster ride that grips the reader from first to last, and the opportunity to translate that best-selling magic to television is like all one’s Christmases and birthdays come at once. As his millions of fans and admirers are well aware, Peter’s meticulous research and eye for detail is the stuff of legend,” said Lewis. “That John Simm will be breathing flesh to the bones of Roy Grace really is the cherry on a dark, and troublingly encrimsoned cake.”
James said, “John Simm, who actually looks like the Roy Grace of my imagination, is inspired casting. With John in the lead, the brilliant scripting by Russell Lewis, and our wonderful production team, I’m confident that fans of my novels and of TV crime dramas in general will be in for a treat.”
Second Act’s Andrew O’Connor and Paul Sandler added, “We’re absolutely delighted to be working with Russell Lewis and Peter James, two of the greatest writers around and to have the chance to bring Grace alive on screen. Like so many other readers, we’ve been fans of the Grace books since they first appeared, so this is a fantastically exciting project for us.”
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