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…

New TV Crime Dramas 2015

THIS IS the fifth time I have previewed forthcoming crime dramas for the year ahead, and it must be the most exciting yet. The BBC, ITV, C4 and BSkyB have commissioned a fantastic range of genuinely exciting new dramas with terrific actors – from thrillers such as Safe House with Christopher Eccleston and the character-driven series The Trials of Jimmy Rose with Ray Winstone, to outlandish grippers like The Chronicles of Frankenstein with Sean Bean.
In addition, some brilliant dramas will be back – Broadchurch included, while old faves Vera, Endeavour, Foyle’s War and DCI Banks have also lined up new mysteries.
Let the crimewave begin…
Stanley Tucci, Sofie Gråbøl and Christopher Eccleston in Fortitude

Fortitude, Sky Atlantic

Sofie Gråbøl, Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Richard Dormer, Christopher Eccleston, Luke Treadaway, Jessica Raine
Here’s a major new drama from Sky Atlantic that has plenty of wow factor. A blockbuster cast, an amazing setting and a compelling crime premise. A town like nowhere else, Fortitude is
surrounded by the savage beauty of the Arctic landscape in the northernmost part of Norway, and there has never been a violent crime here. Until now. When a prominent member of the community is
brutally murdered, Sheriff Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer) leads the investigation, but is disturbed by the arrival of a detective from London, Eugene Morton (Stanley Tucci), who is also there to conduct inquiries into the death. The town’s governor, Hildur Odegard (Sofie Gråbøl), meanwhile, tries to protect her tourism plans from being disrupted by the horror that has taken
place… From Simon Donald, creator of the gritty Low Winter SunJanuary 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

Code of a Killer ITV

David Threlfall, John Simm
Two top actors join what could be one of the most riveting true-life dramas of the year. Code of a Killer is based on the extraordinary true story of Alec Jeffreys’ discovery of DNA fingerprinting and its first use by Detective Chief Superintendent David Baker in catching a double murderer. David Threlfall plays David Baker, who between 1983 and 1987 headed the investigation into the murders of two Leicestershire schoolgirls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth. Only a few miles away, Dr Alec Jeffreys, played by John Simm, was a scientist at Leicester University who, in September 1984, invented a remarkable technique to read each individual’s unique DNA fingerprint. When a local teenager admitted to one of the murders but not the other, Baker asked Jeffreys to analyse the DNA evidence left at the crime scenes. Both men were shocked to discover that the teenager was innocent, his confession false. DCS Baker then took the brave step to launch the world’s first-ever DNA manhunt, testing more than 5000 local men to track down the killer. 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

The cast of Broadchurch 2 in rehearsal

Broadchurch, ITV

David Tennant, Oliva Colman, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Arthur Darvill, Charlotte Rampling
The teaser trailers are already running on ITV. In the first, David Tennant’s character says: ‘There was a boy, and he was killed. I caught the killer. So why am I still here?’ In the second, Oliva Colman asks another question: ‘There was a boy, and he was killed. What happened then destroyed my family, my job, and my town. So what do I do now?’ Somehow, David Tennant has managed to fit in filming a US version of this hugely talked-about drama while also making Broadchurch 2 for ITV. So, back to those questions. Just how will writer Chris Chibnall follow up the brilliant – and conclusive – first series? And what role will Charlotte Rampling play in proceedings? January 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

The Frankenstein Chronicles, ITV

Sean Bean
OK, I know Frankenstein is a horror yarn, but this six-parter gives it a new twist as a crime mystery. At its centre is Inspector John Marlott, played by Game of Thrones‘ Sean Bean, who goes on a terrifying journey in pursuit of… well, you can probably guess. Set in 1827 in London, it opens with Home Secretary Robert Peel recruiting Marlott. As he stands on the edge of the Thames contemplating the arrest of some opium smugglers, Marlott makes a shocking discovery.  The body of a dead child is washed up on the shore and on further examination of the corpse he is horrified to discover it’s not actually a child but rather a crude assembly of body parts arranged in a grotesque parody of a human form. Eeuggh! Filming begins in Northern Ireland in January.
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

SS-GB, BBC1

So, after fading from the cultural landscape in recent years, the brilliant Len Deighton is back. The Brit, now 85, created Harry Palmer and wrote superb thrillers from the 1960s on. He is still writing some interesting books (most recently 2012’s ebook James Bond: My Long and Eventful Search for His Father). Now, the BBC is set to drag the master back into the limelight with this five-part dramatisation of one of his most audacious yarns. It is set in the 1940s and imagines a post-war world in which the Nazis have won the Battle of Britain and London is under German occupation. Archer is a Scotland Yard detective working under the SS and facing the dilemma of whether to collaborate or join the resistance. Written by the writers of the recent Daniel Craig Bond movies, Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, who say: ‘Len Deighton’s SS-GB is a brilliant tale of espionage that dares to think the unthinkable, and we are very excited to be adapting it for television.’ 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

The Casual Vacancy, BBC1

The Beeb joins forces with HBO in the States to make what is one of the most anticipated mini-series of 2015 – of JK Rowling’s first novel following the astronomically successful Harry Potter series. And what a cast! Michael Gambon, Julia McKenzie, Keeley Hawes, Monica Dolan and Rory Kinnear are the headliners. It’s a three-parter, focusing on events in Pagford, a seemingly idyllic English village, following the death of a local councillor. Behind the pretty façade, however, is a town at war: rich with poor, teenagers with their parents, wives with their husbands, teachers with their pupils. 2015

Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

Cuffs, BBC1

This certainly looks like being one of the major new cop series of 2015. Filling the distinctive boots of the regular weekday cop serial once worn by The Bill, this police show will go out every weekday evening at 8pm – BBC1’s first new drama in this slot for more than eight years. Set in Brighton, it will focus on the relationships between uniforms and detectives, and how they all deal with an overstretched and under-resourced job. Written by Julie Gearey, who also wrote the excellent character-driven stories of Prisoners’ Wives. She says: ‘As a massive fan of cop shows, I’m thrilled to create a new ensemble police series for BBC1. Intimate and realistic, we’ll be right on the shoulders of our cops as we follow them into every corner of lives in which work pressures don’t end at the station door.’ 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

Bob Odenkirk returns as Saul Goodman

Better Call Saul, AMC

Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks
The much anticipated prequel to Breaking Bad, with Bob Odenkirk breathing fresh life into Saul Goodman, his slippery lawyer character from the landmark series. The good news is that Vince Gilligan, the showrunner behind BB, has developed the new show with Peter Gould. Gilligan has said: ‘I like the idea of a lawyer show in which the main lawyer will do anything it takes to stay out of a court of law. He’ll settle on the courthouse steps, whatever it takes to stay out of the courtroom. That would be fun—I would like that.’ Aaron Paul, who was brilliant as BB‘s Jesse Pinkman, has said he is in talks with Gilligan over some guest appearances. It hits the screen in the US on Sunday, 8 February, 2015. No news yet of its UK home. See the taster below…
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Black Work, ITV

Sheridan Smith, Matthew McNulty, Douglas Henshall, Geraldine James, Phil Davis
Sheridan Smith plays policewoman Jo Gillespie, whose world is thrown into turmoil when husband Ryan (Kenny Doughty), an undercover policeman, is shot dead in mysterious circumstances. She sets out to discover who murdered him and has to confront difficult truths about her family life and her marriage to Ryan. 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

The Last Panthers, Sky Atlantic

Samantha Morton, Tahar Rahim, John Hurt
Another major new drama from Sky Atlantic – and another cracking cast. It’s written by award-winning Jack Thorne, of Skins, Glue and This Is England renown, and will be directed by Johan Renck of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead fame. Phew! It opens with a daring diamond heist before delving into the dark heart of Europe where a shadowy alliance of gangsters and ‘banksters’ now rules. Samantha Morton is Naomi, a British loss adjustor charged with recovering the stolen diamonds whatever the cost. John Hurt portrays Tom, her nefarious boss. Also in pursuit is a French-Algerian policeman Khalil, played by Tahar Rahim, one of France’s most talented actors. 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

The Secret Agent, BBC1

A three-part adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s novel by Bafta-winning writer Tony Marchant, the man behind the excellent Garrow’s Law. London, 1886. Unbeknown to his loyal wife Winnie, Soho shopkeeper Verloc works as a secret agent for the Russian government. Angry that Britain harbours violent anarchists, the Russians coerce Verloc into planting a bomb that will provoke the authorities into cracking down on these extremists. Caught between the Russians and the British police, Verloc reluctantly draws his own family into a tragic terror plot. Tony Marchant says: ‘Conrad’s depiction of 19th-century terrorists committed to the destruction of the West, with a suicide bomber in their midst, was not only prophetic but is undeniably contemporary and compelling. Equally it is a heartbreaking story of a family caught up in the political machinations of a world in ferment.’ 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

  • Fruity Reels Official Site Providing fans of UK pub-style fruit machines and slots with a comprehensive guide to their favourite games online. 


One of Us, BBC2

This four-part thriller is written by The Missing‘s Jack Williams and set in the Scottish Highlands.A horrific double murder rocks the lives of two families living side by side in rural Scotland. But instead of focusing on the investigation, One Of Us explores the fallout for the grieving relatives, and the dark consequences that threaten to shatter their lives… 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Undercover (working title), BBC1

Political thriller about a woman who is about to become Britain’s first black Director of Public Prosecutions. Just as she is about to enter the public spotlight, she discovers her husband has a secret side – is it an affair, or something more sinister? Writer Peter Moffat says: ‘After immersing myself in WW1 and the 1920s in The Village I am relishing the prospect of returning to the contemporary British political landscape to look at where we stand and how we got here. Undercover is a thriller about identity, trust and the struggle to lead a morally principled personal and professional life, while working up close with the police, press, politicians and criminals who have so corrupted and damaged public life over the last 20 years.’ 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, Sky1

Ashley Jensen
A press officer turned detective and a killer quiche are at the heart of this Christmas crime fest. PR

Ashley Jensen turns sleuth

whizz Agatha moves from London to the Cotswolds to begin a new dream life. To immerse herself in local society she enters the annual quiche-making competition – only to end up the suspect in a murder investigation. Ashley Jensen explains: ‘Agatha Raisin is a strong forthright, independent, driven, successful woman, who is both funny and flawed, a real woman of our time.  Determined to fulfil her lifelong dream and in doing so she discovers that all is not quite as rosy as she had anticipated. Undeterred she finds a new purpose in her life.’ The two-hour film is based on the novel series by MC Beaton, creator of Hamish Macbeth. December 2014
Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Arthur & George ITV

Martin Clunes
Three-parter based on Julian Barnes’ novel and focusing on a fascinating true series of events in the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Martin Clunes will play the celebrated novelist and physician who created the detective Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle recaptures his zest for life, following the death of wife, Louisa, by pursuing and challenging a notorious miscarriage of justice. It is the case of George Edalji, a solicitor and the son of Hampshire vicar the Reverend Shapurji Edalji and his wife, Charlotte. George has served seven years in Pentonville Prison for allegedly mutilating animals and sending threatening letters, a series of offences which have become known as The Great Wyrley Rippings. 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Top of the Lake, BBC2

The first series, set in New Zealand and starring Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss, did not create a huge stir when it went out in 2013, but there is no denying its quality or that it was an absorbing series and production. Well, Academy Award-winning director Jane Campion is returning – as writer – with a six-part follow-up, this time set in Sydney, Australia…
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

London Spy, BBC2

Ben Wishaw
A five-part thriller created by novelist Tom Robb Smith, who wrote the superb hit novel Child 44 (which is being made into a movie for next year with Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman). This is about an innocent and young romantic drawn into the dangerous world of espionage.
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

No Offence, C4

Joanna Scanlan, Alexandra Roach, Elaine Cassidy, Will Mellor
Joanna Scanlan (The Thick of It, Getting On), Alexandra Roach (The Iron Lady, Utopia) and Elaine Cassidy (The Paradise, Harper’s Island) star as the unorthodox crack team of cops at the heart of Paul Abbott’s new series – an outrageous police procedural series from the writer of Shameless and State of Play. Set in a crumbling police station on the wrong side of Manchester, it aims to shock, move and have audiences laughing. It’s a seven-parter, with an additional extended opening episode. 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Continued…



Safe House, ITV


Chistopher Eccleston, Marsha Thomason, Paterson Joseph
Four-parter about a married couple, Robert and Katy, who are asked by close friend and police officer to turn their remote guest house into a safe house. Their first ‘guests’ are a family in fear of their lives after they are violently attacked by someone who claims to know them. For Robert, protecting the family resurrects fears and anxieties bound up in a terrifying night 18 months previously… Inspired by a real couple, Safe House sounds like an intriguing prospect.
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

The Night Manager, BBC

This sounds like another big, prestigious drama for 2015. It’s a six-part adaptation of a John Le Carré book, focusing on the intelligence community and the secret arms trade. It’s a fusion of spy story and tale of organised crime. At its centre is a man called Jonathan Pine, who tries to infiltrate the inner circle of a lethal gangster, but can only do so by becoming a criminal himself.
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

The Trials of Jimmy Rose, ITV

Ray Winstone, Amanda Redman
Winstone is Jimmy Rose, a notorious armed robber who has managed to make crime pay. However, the luxury home and belongings have come at a cost to his family life. Over the years he’s spent more time in prison than with the love of his life, Jackie, their two adult children, Jason and Julie and grandchildren Elliot, Ellie and India. Consequently, their happy distant memories of Jimmy have been shattered by years of abandonment. Emerging from his latest stretch inside, Jimmy does not get the hoped-for warm welcome home… 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Endeavour 3

Shaun Evans
Writer Russell Lewis has done such a good job of lovingly and intelligently building Endeavour Morse’s back-story in this popular Inspector Morse prequel that it’s hard to imagine it not being recommissioned. And with all the cliffhangers in the climax of the second series, to not have the series return would be a crime in itself. The new series will be set in 1967, picking up from the dramatic finale that saw Morse placed in police custody, framed for a murder he didn’t commit, and DI Fred Thursday’s life hanging in the balance after being shot in the chest. Russell Lewis says: ‘Endeavour ’67… Pepper – Piper – Purple Haze… As “Oxford’s finest” encounter friends and foes both old and new, our next quartet of mysteries will take the audience on a psychedelic Summer of Love fairground ride, filled with twists and turns, shrieks and scares. For something wicked this way comes…’ 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★½

The Forgotten, ITV

This six-parter focuses on a cold murder case of 39 years ago. With the discovery of a young man’s skeleton underneath the cellar at a property in Arlington Crescent, a new police investigation turns back the years. The modern-day police team – DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan – unravel long-forgotten secrets, which will have a dramatic impact on their investigation and the lives of four potential suspects. The slow revelation of these secrets as Cassie and Sunny hunt for the killer will alter the dynamic of the families and their loved ones forever. But who was the murdered boy and why was he staying in 27 Arlington Crescent?  And what happened in 1976 to cause his murder?
Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Luther, BBC1

Idris Elba
You can’t keep a good character down. Not only is Idris Elba talking up the prospects of a Luther movie series, but he is certainly returning to the Beeb for a 2 x 60-minute special. Of the genius detective with violent passions, his creator Neil Cross says: ‘Ever since we said goodbye to John Luther on Southwark Bridge, there’s hardly been a minute when I didn’t wonder what happened next. So I decided to find out. We’re putting the band back together – Luther is coming back where he belongs. Back to the BBC. Back to London. And back to work.’ Luther was something of an acquired taste, being at times silly and rather nasty. But Idris Elba is one of the most charismatic performers on TV, and for the series’ devotees, this should be manna… 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★

Foyle’s War, ITV

Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Daniel Weyman, Ellie Haddington
Three new post-war mysteries for writer Anthony Horowitz’s old warhorse. The stories will explore the world of the American and German businesses that were accused of fuelling Hitler’s war machine and will reflect on the web of promises to the Jews to create a state of Israel in British Palestine. The major blight of postwar Britain, the Black Market, will be a subject, too, as will some of the darkest secrets from operations conducted by the British Special Operations Executive during WW2. Watch out for a guest appearance from Frasier’s John Mahoney.
Anticipation factor: ★★★

Vera 5, ITV

Brenda Blethyn, Kenny Doughty
Four new episodes based on the characters created by novelist Ann Cleeves. Filming has already been under way in the North East for these stories, with Kenny Doughty joining the cast as Vera’s new sidekick, DS Aiden Healy. 2015
Anticipation factor: ★★★

DCI Banks 4

Stephen Tompkinson, Andrea Lowe, Caroline Katz
He’s back for another six-parter. The first story, What Will Survive, revolves around a young woman found buried alive and her connections to a man, his autistic son and a family that seem to have silenced the town. We’ll also see Banks’s life turned upside-down by tragic events in his own family. Home will deal with an unfolding tragedy as a well-loved young maths teacher is run over deliberately by a car outside his school. His Muslim girlfriend suspects her own father and cousin, who disapprove of the relationship. In the final story, Ghosts, Helen’s past comes back to haunt her when an old flame from another police force implies he is being framed. He begs for her help shortly before he is killed…  2015
Anticipation factor: ★★

And as for 2016…

Mark Gatiss, a writer and star in Sherlock, has already started teasing devotees of the drama by promising tragedy and adventure in the fourth series. Plus, it seems Moriarty could make some kind of return from the grave. A possible Christmas special for 2015… Even more mired in rumour is the return of True Detecitve – it seems Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss won’t be in the cast. Suits star Abigail Spencer and Kelly Reilly have been talked up to play in the writer Nic Pizzolatto’s next tale of ‘hard women and bad men’. Rachel McAdams is also in the running. Taylor Kitsch and Colin Farrell look like being the guys… And, finally, expect to be reading a lot about the next instalment of Twin Peaks. David Lynch and Mark Frost returning to the twisted world they created in 1990’s landmark series is brilliant news. See the trailer on CrimeTimePreview and start following the Twin Peaks news here

Happy viewing!

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