Dark Heart, ITV Encore

From ITV Studios Dark Heart on ITV Encore Pictured: The Killer. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com For further information please contact: james.hilder@itv.com

Brutal – The Killer in Dark Heart

Twisting two-hour tale of revenge murders that seems designed to launch a new cop series

★★★ ITV Encore, week of 5 November (day to be announced)

THE START is grisly, featuring the kind of slow murder that London probably hasn’t seen since the Middle Ages.

It’s the first of a series of horror killings, all featuring suspected paedophiles as the victims. However, if you can get past the grim murder spree, Dark Hart is a diverting tale with good lead characters.

Investigator: Staffe (Tom Riley)

Investigator: Staffe (Tom Riley)

Detective Inspector William Wagstaffe (Tom Riley), is the focus. He is haunted by the murder of his parents during a family holiday in Spain when he was 16 years old. The killers are still at large and ‘Staffe’ is unable to let go until he finds them.

The women in Staffe’s life

By day, Staffe has to keep his cynical officers focused on tracking down a killer who most feel is doing a good job. These include DC Josie Chancellor (Anjli Mohindra), DS Dave Pulford (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) and DS Rick Johnson (Tom Brooke).

By night he has an on-off relationship with Sylvie (Miranda Raison) and a close but fractious time with his sister, Juliette (Charlotte Riley).

 Juliette [Charlotte Riley]. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com

Sister – Juliette (Charlotte Riley)

Based on a novel by Adam Creed, the set-up is interesting, but as depicted on screen never really convinces. Staffe’s troubled soul somehow fails to chime with the on-going story, which is heavily concerned with moody interiors and time-lapse sequences.

It’s not in the same league as Happy Valley or even the currently unfolding Paranoid and The Level.

Still, the investigation – once the horror show is put aside – is surprising and holds your interest. The end packs a wallop and Staffe is left in a place where it seems likely he may be brought back for more adventures.

The Frankenstein Chronicles, ITV Encore, Sean Bean

From Rainmark Films The Frankenstein Chronicles on ITV Encore Pictured: Sean Bean as John Marlott in the new six part series The Frankenstein Chronicles. This photograph is (C) Rainmark Films and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above or ITV plc.

Gruesome task: Sean Bean as Inspector John Marlott

Georgian London is brought thrillingly to life as Sean Bean hunts a ghastly foe

★★★★ ITV Encore, day and date to be announced

VISITORS, don’t worry – CrimeTimePreview hasn’t capriciously decided to cover gothic horror dramas on a whim. This atmospheric and fascinating telling of the Frankenstein tale is actually a monster-mash of the crime and horror genres.

And why not? Everyone from Andy Warhol to Mel Brooks has dabbled with Mary Shelley’s creature, and here director/writer Benjamin Ross and writer Barry Langford have crafted an intriguing journey into the darker recesses of Georgian England.

With Sean Bean heading a cast that includes Anna Maxwell Martin as Shelley and Steven Berkoff as William Blake, it’s a six-parter that rises above your average shock fest or cop procedural. With its well-worked background themes of bodysnatching and abandoned children, the writers have stitched together a story with heart as well as a brain.

Sean Bean is terrific as the investigator Marlott

The year is 1827 and the setting is switched from Switzerland to London. Bean’s Inspector John Marlott is working undercover on the Thames trying to catch opium smugglers when his men discover an ‘abomination’ in the muddy foreshore – a body made from the pieces of eight children.

Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel (Tom Ward) is none too delighted when Marlott brings the ‘object’ to the attention of the authorities. The politician fears it is the fiendish work of opponents of the Anatomy Act, which aims to regulate the practice of surgery and remove the barbers and bodysnatchers that give it a bad name. He wants Marlott to expose the perpetrator of this heinous crime, telling him that ‘details of your investigation must remain confidential’.

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The Americans 3, ITV Encore, Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell

From Fox  The Americans: SR3 on ITV Encore  Pictured: Elizabeth Jennings [Keri Russell] and Philip Jennings [Mathew Rhys].

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are back in The Americans

IT WENT out in the States back in the spring and finally The Americans series 3 arrives in the UK. ITV have switched it to its subscription channel ITV Encore, from Wednesday 19 August 10pm. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a substandard series shoved into the backwater equivalent of 5USA. ITV has high hopes for Encore and Americans 3 was a critical hit in the US. If you haven’t seen this unheralded classic thriller, we’re back in Reagan-era 1980s USA with two implanted Soviet super-spies, Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell). The pressure on them mounts this time as their bosses want them to turn one of their all-American children, teenager Paige (Holly Taylor), into a spy, too. It’s a superbly made hour of tension and well worth getting into. UK viewers will start to hear more and more about ITV Encore in coming months, as the network will be debuting a string of high-profile dramas here, including The Frankenstein  Chronicles with Sean Bean and its crime drama with a supernatural twist, Midwinter of the Spirit, with Anna Maxwell Martin. So comrades, settle back for some pretty hearty dramas on the new network this autumn and winter…

Jordskott, ITV Encore, with Moa Gammel

Jordskott, ITV Encore

Eva Thörnblad (Moa Gammel) in the haunting woods

Riveting Nordic crime drama is back with this atmospheric tale of child abduction and conspiracy.

★★★★ ITV Encore, starts Wednesday, 10 June, 10pm

WHEN The Killing crept into BBC4’s schedules without fanfare in 2011 it famously became a word-of-mouth sensation, making a star of Sofie Gråbøl and igniting our near obsession with subtitled Nordic dramas.

The Bridge, Borgen, Arne Dahl have since become the stand-out successes from Northern Europe. Along the way, British viewers also fell in love with series such as Spiral and Inspector Montalbano from France and Italy.

But while Scandi devotees are stuck waiting for the next series of The Bridge (which will sadly be without Kim Bodnia, and is due late 2015/early 2016) and Arne Dahl (series 2: 2015), the new network ITV Encore has uncovered another quality thriller from Sweden.

Moa Gammel as detective Eva Thornblad

Jordskott immediately hits its stride as an engrossing drama with that quality of Nordic mystique. A vast ancient forest, a child’s disappearance, murky business dealings and a haunted blonde heroine – it’s the full smorgasbord.

Moa Gammel is police inspector Eva Thornblad, whose daughter disappeared by a lake, Silverhöjd, near her hometown seven years ago. When we meet Eva, she is confronting a deranged father, who shoots her.

During her convalescence, she has to return to her hometown to sort out her father’s estate. Conventional wisdom has it that her daughter, Josefine, drowned at the lake, and perhaps Eva has even made herself believe this.

[Read more…]

Jordskott – Swedish series, ITV Encore in June

HERE’S a taste of Jordskott, the acclaimed Swedish mystery coming to ITV’s new channel Encore in June. It features blond people, forests, guns and lots of chilly stares. It’s about police investigator Eva Thornblad, whose daughter disappeared seven years ago by Silverhojd lake, apparently drowned. But Eva realises that other children have vanished near the lake, and she returns to the spot to probe a tragedy that still haunts her. It’s a 10-parter that looks packed with atmosphere. Could it do for ITV Encore what The Killing did for BBC4?

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