Category Archives: Grace

Grace star teases return of ITV crime drama

We know that series three of Grace is just around the corner. And now one of the stars has teased in imminent return.

Richie Campbell, who plays DS Glenn Bransone in series that’s based on the novels by Peter James, tweeted the message on the social media site,

He said that series three is “coming back soon” and that’s it’s the “best season yet”.

Series three will comprise three, feature-length episodes, Dead Like YouDead Man’s Grip and Not Dead Yet.

More news as we get it.


Grace: Season 3 begins production

ITV crime drama Grace has begun filming its third series for the channel.

Starring John Simm as the eponymously titled lead character, the third series will reportedly consist of three episodes, all based on Peter James’s Roy Grace novels – Dead Like You, Dead Man’s Grip and Not Dead Yet.

Award-winning crime novelist James confirmed the news himself on Twitter.

Expect the new series to be dotted throughout 2023.


Grace on ITV recommissioned for third series

Grace on ITV has been recommissioned for a third series, with John Simm reprising his role as Brighton-based Detective Superintendent Roy Grace.

An adaptation of international, bestselling author Peter James’ award-winning novels, the first and third of three feature-length films in the new series will be written by Ben Court and Caroline Ip, with Ed Whitmore writing the second episode.

The new, third series will also see the return of Richie Campbell as DS Glenn Branson, Zoë Tapper as Cleo Morey and Craig Parkinson as DS Norman Potting.

More news as we get it.

REVIEW Grace (S2 E3/3)

To say that this second series of Grace has been a mixed bag is an understatement. This batch if new stories started with a decent episode (the final episode of ‘series one’) then fell off a cliff a bit with two substandard instalments. The hope was that this final episode – Dead Tomorrow – would at least deliver a decent story and one that we could follow without too much head-scratching and engage with properly.

Although there were plenty of the usual Grace foibles, the story did hold up and was, at times, a riveting and compelling watch, further proving that in a mystery-of-the-week series, you’re only as good as your last story.

To begin with, we were presented with the usual dizzying array of Grace narrative strands – a group of asylum seekers on a boat crossing the Channel into England, a male body discovered out at sea with his eyes and organs removed, a swish young man knocked off a motorbike and now in a coma, a young girl waiting for a liver transplant, a young man stabbed outside a chip shop by a group of racist, right-wing thugs… the list continued. Like previous episodes, it was tricky to see how these seemingly disparate strands would fuse together in a satisfactory fashion.

But the difference with Dead Tomorrow is that they did, and relatively (and mercifully) quickly.

The victim found at sea was one of the asylum seekers, who had – contrary to what Grace and co initially thought – been harvested for his organs. Furthermore, the girl he met and became close with was now living rough and in secrecy in the nooks and crannies of Brighton, and she had also signed up for the same ‘job’ as he had.

Elsewhere, the man on the motorbike was a surgeon who, it turned out, was part of this heinous and illicit organ harvesting ring, who was selling its prey’s vitals for up to £200k a liver, kidney, heart or lung.

And the young waiting for a transplant was running out of time, her mother desperate to help her, any way – legally or illegally – she could.

As I mentioned all of these strands came together relatively quickly, and it soon turned into a cat and mouse game between the ringleaders – including the suave Julia Giroux (played by Joséphine de La Baume, who we last saw in Top Boy) and Grace and his team. The clock was ticking for the young asylum seeker because she had inadvertently signed up for ‘dream job in London’, which was shorthand for ‘impending death with her organs to be removed’.

As we all know, Grace is an unashamed procedural but this time the story was compelling and emotionally and morally loaded, adding greater weight and portent. It asked what a mother would do to save her daughter, and how a respected surgeon turned into a man with a God complex.

All these things made for good viewing. A story not without its flaws (I struggled to believe a very rich and powerful woman at the head of an organ-harvesting ring was so conspicuous and drove around Brighton in a big, posh black car), but it was a solid story.

I’ve been critical of this series, but I did enjoy Glenn’s side story of his psychological rehabilitation after he was almost killed in a shooting a few episodes back. And, of course, John Simm is John Simm, and he’s always worth a watch. So there have been plenty of things to like about this series.

I’ve just found the tropes a bit tired and predictable, and some of the adapting has been strange and unwieldy, to say the least. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t when it comes to adapting someone else’s books (in this case the award-winning and wildly popular Peter James), and goodness knows we’re all fans of Endeavour, but I get the feeling Russell Lewis found this project tricky.

Still, we’ll no doubt be back for more soon (especially with the (somewhat predictable) revelation right at the end of the episode that Grace’s wife Sandy might just be alive) as there does seem to be an audience for a procedural series that you can lose yourself in for a couple of hours on a Sunday evening.

Paul Hirons

Episode rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Series rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.




Grace is shown on ITV and is now available on ITV Hub in the UK

REVIEW Grace (S2 E2/3)

So what will we get with Grace this week? An engaging story, or a fairly average episode? That’s the way this series has been going so far. Such is the life of a mystery-of-the-week series.

And this week’s instalment… well, there was a lot going on. A lot.

Packing a story with a highly complex (and convoluted) murder mystery, plus the ongoing relationship between Roy and Cleo, PLUS a new member of the team out to get Roy does not necessarily mean it was any good. Far from it.

Dead Man’s Footsteps was a bit of a head-scratcher, its many constituent parts making it a real muddle.

We started off with a young woman applying contact lenses, pulling on a wig and heading out, getting into a lift. She became trapped, the lift’s controls failing.

The action then switched to the discovery of a skeleton in a storm drain. Roy and the team were called to the scene, naturally, with forensics dating the body back 10 years or so. Indeed, further analysis revealed several similarities to a cold case that was close to Roy’s heart – his own wife, Sandy. The prospect of finally finding Sandy’s body (and perhaps finding what really happened to her) hit Roy hard, and he was on edge.

So much so, a new addition to the team – the odious Cassian Pewe (why do all bad buys have Harry Potter names?) – who had previous with Roy was tasked by Vosper to look into some of the county’s cold cases. Number one on his list was Sandy’s disappearance, and he set about reinvestigating Roy. His argument was that in most spousal disappearances or murders it’s almost always the husband, and he further argued that Roy had never been investigated properly.

With all of these strands set up, we still kept flitting back to the lift woman, who had escaped her claustrophobic confinement but was soon taken hostage by a softly-spoken, smooth-looking thug who was keen to retrieve what she had stolen from him. To say she was having a bad few days was an understatement.

A murder mystery, a hostage situation, a cold case investigation… as I said earlier, there was a lot going on here. Of course, the murder investigation and the plight of the lift woman in the present day were bound to converge at some point. But Crikey O’Reilly… these parts took their time joining up.

The murder mystery was a hugely convoluted affair, which didn’t help with the old comprehension levels. We had the cold case, where the victim in the storm drain was found to be the ex-wife of a shady gang boss called Ronnie Welbeck… who had faked his own death. Not only that but the investigation then turned to France and then Spain, and it became apparent that Welbeck’s second wife had not only laundered his life insurance money through stamps for him but was also murdered.

(Laundering money through rare stamps are a real thing, apparently, before you ask).

So where did the lift woman come into it all? She had been seeing Welbeck and was sent to retrieve the stamps after they were stolen by his associate, Chad Skebbs. Except Abby – lift woman’s real name – stole them herself and was now in hiding. (Abby eventually outfoxed everyone and escaped Roy and co to Rio de Janeiro.)

See what I mean? No not only preposterous but also a proper muddle.

And that was only the murder mystery side of things. It didn’t help that we had these side issues to deal with, which weren’t really dealt with properly. Cassian Pewe had dug up Roy’s back garden in a bid to find Sandy’s remains but found nothing and just kind of disappeared after the finale (which involved Roy, Pewe, Abby and her dementia-ridden mother in a caravan teetering on the edge of a cliff, employing full Star Trek wobbly movement acting). The Pewe strand seemed to be a complete waste of time.

And can we have a word about Vosper, who just makes bad decision after bad decision and treats Roy really quite badly?

The (other) real problem I had with this episode was the total non-appearance by the real big bad, Ronnie Welbeck. He had killed two of his wives, fakes his own death and – in a higgledy-piggledy way – had scammed his way to his own life insurance. But he was only onscreen in the final scenes. It’s really quite difficult to get a hold on a story when the main perpetrator isn’t the focus of the show.

A lot of people think that Grace is something you can switch off to on a Sunday night, and there’s no doubt that it has these kinds of qualities. And you can understand why Russell Lewis is heading this series up – John Simm as Roy Grace is highly watchable, and you just know ITV setting it up as a Brighton version of Morse.

But when you get stories so muddled, so difficult to follow and so far over the line in terms of believability, I’d argue that it’s actually really rather difficult to switch off and go with the flow in a sort of cosy crime sort of way that many contend this show allows them to do. There are good things in Grace, but I still contend that it’s still trying to find its feet – a lot like Roy in the caravan.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 2 out of 5.



Grace is shown on ITV and is now available on ITV Hub in the UK

REVIEW Grace (S2 E1/3)

I’ve just been catching up with Grace and now have, I think, a handle on how it’s being played out.

Last week’s episode was the second in a three-episode series two, the last of that series being played out tonight (Sunday 8th May).

The first episode of the series was pretty good, and a definite improvement on the very first instalment last year. However – and unfortunately – I found this one to be a bit of a dud, despite some atmospheric moments and the introduction of Roy’s new love interest.

And this, of course, is the problem with mystery-of-the-week series – there are bound to be inconsistencies, with peaks and troughs throughout the run. And so it’s proving with Grace. One week is good, the next isn’t so good… repeat.

This story – Not Dead Enough – begins when the body of a young woman is pulled from the ocean. At the crime scene, Roy meets a new pathologist – Cleo Morey (Zoe Tapper). More of her later.

Attention soon switches to another murder, when the wife of Kit Bishop, a Brighton hotshot entrepreneur, is found dead in her bed. All the fingers point to Bishop (Arthur Darvill), a fairly loathsome and arrogant individual who is doing his best to evade questioning and escaping safe houses.

His reputation in the eyes of the viewer is further diminished when it’s revealed that he was having it away with young socialite Sophie Carrington, who also ends up dead later in the story. All throughout this episode, Bishop is being built up into a bad guy, which is an interesting idea for a number of reasons: a) as an audience we’re led down a road the creators can do an about-turn and present a gigantic twist, or b) it’s is a double bluff and Bishop is actually the murderer.

As Roy and a recovered and returned DS Branson work to find the requisite evidence to nail Bishop, Roy gets closer to Cleo. Roy is understandably nervous and wracked by guilt over this unexpected development in his love life, but Cleo is a breath of fresh air – flirtatious, forthright and energetic. She’s exactly what Roy needs to move on from the supposed death of his wife. And we all knew that this was going to happen (Roy finding someone else), and sure enough it was a welcome development of character.

But there’s a problem – Cleo is also being attacked, quite obviously by the bad guy. But why?

It all ends up with a hugely convoluted, frankly daft denouement/reveal that leaves you scratching your head. Kit Bishop had a twin – OF COURSE HE DID – that… wait, that twin is dead… but there’s ANOTHER Bishop brother who also looks EXACTLY like Kit who is out for some revenge on his family. His motto? Take away the thing that your enemies love. Oh purleeeease.

Let’s hope for a better series finale tonight.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Grace is shown on ITV in the UK and is also available on ITV Hub

REVIEW Grace (S1 E2/2)

When John Simm stepped into the role of DSI Roy Grace – an obsessive, grief-stricken detective patrolling the mean streets of Brighton – hopes were that this could develop into a Morse-like series with a strong sense of place, a gruff lead character and a seemingly endless amount of source material (Peter James has written 18 critically-acclaimed Roy Grace novels).

No wonder Russell ‘Endeavour‘ Lewis is the screenwriter.

However, before I crack on with my thoughts, I must say that ITV is mucking about with the rollout series and the episodes, as it often likes to do, especially with shows like Midsomer Murders. It aired episode one last year, episode two last night (Sunday 25th April) and next week ‘series two’ kicks off with another episode. There are supposed to be three episodes in that second series, but god knows when those other two will be broadcast.

Aaaanyway, onto Looking Good Dead.

It begins with the discovery of a man dressed in a gimp suit hanging from his rafters. Grace and co immediately think that the grim scene is nothing more than chem-sex fun times gone dangerously wrong. It’s only the later discovery of the dismembered body of a young woman that Grace realises there may be a serial killer on the loose – not just your run-of-the mill serial killer mind, a serial killer who obviously wants his victims to be found, and someone who leaves a scarab beetle at the scene of his crimes.

Concurrent to these brutal discoveries around the city and its surrounding dykes is the story of Zach Bryce (The Long Call’s Amit Shah), who, on his commute to work, finds a memory stick on the recently vacated seat next to him. When he gets home, he can’t resist a peek and finds access to a live stream, which shows the aforementioned young woman stabbed to death during what seems like kinky cosplay session.

Now watching his every move thanks to an elaborate spy-ware system, Bryce is threatened with death if he blabs to the cops.

What soon becomes apparent is that these killings are part of a subscription-only snuff site, with thousands of members around the globe who may millions for the privilege of watching people murdered online.

It’s a far-fetched premise – I mean I know that dark web is there and plenty of awful things happen on t’internet, but a subscription site with thousands of viewers around the world? That would have been identified pretty easily you would imagine.

No matter, because Grace is on the case and gets to work processing leads and getting nearer and nearer to the truth, until there’s a huge shooty setpiece at the end, where he captures the bad guys in the network. And this is the thing about Grace – it’s unashamed procedural action.

The difference between episode one and two – despite the slightly daft central premise – is quite stark. This was markedly better. Better paced, better directed, better told… Grace is still brooding a little and still seeks the wisdom and council from his medium pal (although, thankfully, that’s only a small part of the story this time around), but there’s real verve in the storytelling and there’s plenty of propulsive energy to carry you through.

There is some vague social commentary here about what we as a society are willing to consume and the whole proliferation of privacy and spying (the Bryces have a fancy cam to watch their baby at night), but first and foremost really this is just solid, watchable procedural business.

You get the feeling that ITV is setting up Grace to be here for the long-term.

(I also need to mention that Craig Parkinson makes an appearance as a member of the investigating team, doing his best Dot Cottan impression.)

Paul Hirons

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Grace is shown on ITV and is now available on ITV Hub in the UK