The TV world was expecting the six-part Nicola Walker-starring cold-case series, Unforgotten, to start on ITV next week, but instead this new three-parter based on the novels by Phil Rickman has been bumped up in the schedules. Those Walkerites, and there are many, will be a bit disappointed but they shouldn’t fret because this is just terrific. It stars Anna Maxwell Martin and David Threlfall (two of the very best), and it’s a crime drama with a twist… it feels more like a horror series than anything else. Be prepared to be seriously creeped out. The trailer is after the jump.
Maxwell Martin plays single mum and vicar Merrily Watkins, who moves to Hereford to try and put the death of her husband behind her and her teenage daughter. She begins training for exorcisim and all the kind of stuff, and these newly acquired skills has put her on the dark side of the pulpit. She has become one of the few women priests working as an exorcist – a job increasingly mistrusted by the modern church and rarely talked about, even though it operates in virtually every diocese in the UK. David Threlfall takes on the role of Rev Huw Owen, a deliverance ministry tutor and Merrily’s mentor.
Merrily is deeply human in her doubts and scepticism, but her knowledge of the paranormal underworld brings her to the notice of local police who need her advice in the investigation of a grisly murder. Merrily has been through the mill emotionally of late, losing her unfaithful husband Sean in a car crash and seeking refuge in a job despised by her 16‐year‐old daughter, Jane, whose rejection of her mother’s beliefs leads her into the path of danger.
When a man is found murdered in the most horriﬁc circumstances imaginable, Merrily becomes convinced that Satanists are operating in the city. In the early hours of the next morning, she is called to Hereford General Hospital to perform an exorcism. The atmosphere is palpably toxic, as nurses treating a chronically ill man known for cruelty to animals and his abuse of women believe that the ward has become polluted by his vileness. As the life force in the shrivelled body begins to ebb away, Merrily feels the force of his depravity. Shaking and feeling violated by her experience, Merrily begins to wonder if the two deaths are connected.
Midwinter Of The Spirit: Wednesday 23rd September, 9pm, ITV