Tom Riley to star in Chris Lang’s Dark Heart for ITV Encore


nycc2012Yesterday, we ran a news story that detailed the recommissioning of The Frankenstein Chronicles (read that here) for ITV Encore. Good news for a subscription-only channel, and that new, second series of the Sean Bean starrer is followed today with the announcement of a new story to go out on the channel. Tom Riley (who we’ve seen in Da Vinci’s Demons) plays DI Will Wagstaffe, a man haunted by his past, in Dark Heart. The one-off, feature-length drama is set in London and is written by acclaimed writer Chris ‘Unforgotten’ Lang and based on the novel Suffer the Children by Adam Creed.

What’s it all about? DI Will Wagstaffe, known as Staffe, is at London City airport when his colleague, DC Josie Chancellor (Anjli Monhindra) calls him to tell him there’s been a gruesome murder. Being the workaholic he is, Staffe abandons his personal plans and heads to the scene of the crime.

Staffe, along with Chancellor, DS Dave Pulford (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) and DS Rick Johnson (Tom Brooke), are confronted by a horrific scene – Ray Collins (Mark Fleischmann), a man in his mid thirties, has been tied to his own bed, choked and severely mutilated.

As the team, based at Leadengate police station in London, investigate further, they learn Collins was arrested two and a half years ago on suspicion of sexual assault of is own daughters, Holly and Jasmine, who were just nine and eleven at the time.  He was remanded in custody for three weeks but there wasn’t sufficient evidence and Collins was released.

As Staffe and his team delve deeper they speak to Collins’ ex-wife, Debbie Collins (Simone Kirby), who is mother to his daughters.  She admits she is relieved to hear of his death; grateful that no other child will go through what hers did. 

Soon after Collins’ death, a lawyer, Guy Dawlish (Nicholas Asbury), is brutally attacked. The style of attack is similar to the way in which Collins was killed – he was tied to his bed using knots that are exactly the same as the ones used to restrain Collins.  The similarity doesn’t end there – Dawlish was arrested two years ago following allegations of child sex abuse. There was insufficient evidence so he wasn’t charged.

With two unconvicted paedophiles attacked within days of each other, Staffe fears this could be just the start…

Whilst devoting his life to his work, Staffe also battles personal demons. He’s haunted by the unresolved murder of his parents.

Staffe has an on-off romance with Sylvie (Miranda Raison), but his closest relationship is with his sister Juliette (Charlotte Riley) and seven-year-old nephew Harry (Joseph Teague), who come to stay with him when Juliette has troubles with her boyfriend Paulo (Edward Akrout).  With no parents and no significant partner of his own, Juliette and Harry mean everything to Staffe, so when he fears Paulo is up to no good, protective Staffe takes matters into his own hands…

All sounds promising. More news when we get it…


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