Category Archives: Sherwood

BBC renews Sherwood for season 2

One of the crime highlights of the year, James Graham’s Sherwood is getting a second series.

after tonight’s series one finale (Tuesday 28th June), Graham released a statement saying he was keen to explore more ‘red wall’ towns in native East Midlands.

“I’ve been so deeply moved by the response to Sherwood. These stories come from my home, and I want to specifically express gratitude to my community for whom I know these subjects can be difficult, but – I hope – important ones to explore.

“The East Midlands and former Red Wall areas like it are never just one thing, politically or culturally, and it’s been the honour of my life to give voice and character to a place I love. It’s a county of great stories and legends, past and present, and I can’t wait to show audiences more.

“It’s also a joy to see our incredible cast be so celebrated, along with lead director Lewis Arnold, who I owe a great debt, and Ben Williams. None of this would have been possible without House Productions championing and supporting me every step of the way, and without the public service remit of the BBC.”

The BBC said: “We are thrilled that James Graham and the team at House have agreed to return to the world of Sherwood a second time. This series has been met with an incredible reaction from audiences on the BBC thanks to the amazing work of all involved.”

It’s not clear at this stage whether series two will be a continuing story or a brand-new tale. More news as we get it.


REVIEW Sherwood (S1 E6/6)

Sherwood has been just terrific so far, expertly weaving an intricate murder mystery into an engrossing tale of a fraying community pushed to the very edge of its sanity.

But as terrific as it has been, a crime drama often lives and dies by how it lands. So far, writer James Graham has paid close attention to his characters, giving them deep, rich histories, and to his community that is still suffering the after-effects of the miners’ strike back in the 1980s.

Such gnarly and dense social context has been truly great for this drama, giving it a depth that we’ve not seen for a long time.

It changed slightly from a whodunit into a cat-and-mouse and, to some extent, a whydunit as the story evolved. We knew fairly early on that lone crossbowman, Scott Rowley, killed Gary Jackson and was the man wreaking havoc around Ashfield. But why?

Graham also gave us a compelling and intriguing mystery concerning a ‘spy cop’, one of five undercover Met police officers sent to Ashfield to infiltrate different groups, cause trouble and sow seeds of mistrust. State agitators, sent to heighten the conflict and who were content to sit back and let the two warring groups tear themselves apart.

In episode five, we found out that the spy cop who stayed in the town was Daphne Sparrow, now the matriarch of a crime family.

Such a fantastically delicious juxtaposition.

In fact, Sherwood has been full of these terrifically drawn characters, and I’ve really marvelled at how Graham has managed to keep all the plates spinning. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to create a compelling, addictive murder mystery – with all the beats, and with all the cliffhangers that we come to expect and demand – that is given equal weight to a really meaty character drama. One often overshadows the other – procedural snuffs out character, or vice versa. Rarely are they balanced.

But they are here.

Let’s just take a moment to list some of the amazing characterisation and stories explored in this six-part series. Ian St Clair – the white-knight cop – and his relationship with his wife Helen, his community, and what happened with his dad and brother in the 1980s; what happened to Kevin Salisbury during his stationing in Ashfield, his relationship with Jenny and how that affected him for the rest of his life; the dynamics within the Sparrow family; the sad tale of Andy Fisher, losing his wife and then exploding in a fit of murderous rage; his victim Sarah Vincent and her relationship with her father, and now an unapologetic Tory councillor in a mostly Labour area; the Jackson sisters and their causes of their estrangement… the list goes on and on. And there was even time for a star cross’d relationship between the younger members of the Jackson and Sparrow families.

To carry all of this off, you need a top-notch cast, and the likes of David Morrissey, Robert Glenister, Lesley Manville, Lorraine Ashbourne, Adeel Ahktar et al were all brilliant.

But now to the ending.

When Scott Rowley was finally caught by members of the community (a nice touch… the community putting animosities aside and teaming together to capture him) as he sought to sneak in and out of his family home, the thought was that he was doing what he was doing because he knew who the spy cop was and was taking out key players in the miners’ drama as an act of some sort of revenge.

Not so. In custody, he told a stunned St Clair and Salisbury that he had no idea who the spy cop was, although he quite enjoyed toying with the police making them think he knew who it was. No, Scott Rowley murdered Gary Jackson because he was fed up with his uncle lording it over everyone, and he continued his spree because… he wanted to make a name for himself. He had been passed over by his birth mother, his dad didn’t care about him and his life was going nowhere.

Was this satisfactory? I’m not sure. I’m still not sure after watching it a second time. Part of me thinks this was a bit… of a cop-out. In crime dramas, we like to not only see the bad guy get his comeuppance but also to find out why he did it. After all the build-up – the spy cops, the history of the miners’ strike – I was expecting something more. Much more. To see Scott Rowley (clearly a highly disturbed psychopath) laugh his head off because there was no real reason for committing the atrocities he did, felt like a bit of a cheat.

And yet, they were perfectly plausible human reasons for doing what he did – we heard that he had been rejected by his birth mother, rejected by his dad and, in a sense, rejected by his whole community.

The Scott Rowley issue had been resolved fairly early in the episode, which left a good half an hour to build up the tension again… would Daphne Sparrow be found out? She came perilously close on numerous occasions, and she was ready to end it all after it seemed her true identity would be revealed.

However, thanks to St Clair’s intervention, she stayed her pistol. Not to live happily ever after, but at least to live.

And this seemed to be the message – the big theme – in this series: no matter who you are, what you did 30 years ago and what you believe, it’s ok to change, and it’s ok to heal. Healing, reconciliation, redemption. They’re all needed in order to live life.

So while I perhaps had a few issues with some of this final episode – I’d be interested to know what you thought of it – Sherwood was one of those rare things: a crime drama that gave us characters and characterisation you could luxuriate in, the type and quality of which we haven’t seen since Happy Valley.

Paul Hirons

Episode rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Series rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.





Sherwood is now on the BBC iPlayer in the UK

REVIEW Sherwood (S1 E5/6)

Every series has one, especially every crime drama series.

Sherwood is no different.

So much is going on in this superb British series, we needed an explainer episode. And make no mistake, this is the explainer episode.

As recently the series finale of Welsh-language series, Y Golau, on S4C, we’ve discussed the use of flashbacks and the best, most impactful and judicious times to use them. However, episode five of Sherwood was more or less one big flashback, which not only revealed what really happened on that fateful night back in 1984, but also the nature of St Clair and Salisbury’s beef and, crucially who the spy cop was. It was thrilling, nicely staged and added more weight to what is already an undeniably weighty (in terms of social context) story.

If you’re reading this review you’ll no doubt know what happened, but I was so impressed by the production design and the new characters – St Clair’s brother and father (oh hello, Mark Addy!), the moral dilemmas they all faced, the betrayals, how families were torn apart… the female spy cop’s training back in London and her expert infiltration into Ashfield life, the guilt she felt after spreading the gossip that indirectly caused the fire that claimed lives… Salisbury and Jenny’s forbidden love and their role in it all… it was like an episode within an episode and it was just terrific. Hat tip also to director Lewis Arnold, especially during what seemed like one single, mega-take in the miners’ club that was comparable to Scorsese’s famous opening shot in Goodfellas.

So after that little lot, we know a lot more about the story, and who really is who in Ashfield.

And one person we now know is not the spy cop is Helen St Clair, even though she was pegged as the infiltrator at the end of episode four. In this episode, she met with Salisbury to explain she actually came to Ashfield under witness protection, which just happened to coincide with the troubles.

So that was a clever twist, and throughout this episode we saw more development in the present day, juxtaposed with backstory from the 1980s. But of course, we needed to know what was happening with Scott Rowley and Andy Fisher out in the woods. Rowley used Fisher to help throw the Met super-cops off his scent, while Andy himself was still debating whether to end it all or turn himself in.

I know I keep mentioning Andy Fisher, but he’s such an intriguing, engrossing and morally complex character (one of many in the series) – at once repugnant, sympathetic and vulnerable. And this combination was worked for all it was worth in an emotional end for him. Honestly, I thought Adeel Akhtar was simply superb as this difficult-to-portray character. He’s played despicable characters before, but here he did the business yet again. I genuinely think he’s one of the most underrated actors in the country.

There’s so much to say about every episode of Sherwood, and it’s very impressive how so much heavy characterisation is being juggled with plot and tempo in such exemplary fashion.

And there’s even time for a twist – a big twist – right at the end: the revelation of the identity of the spy cop. It was none other than Ma Sparrow herself, known as Daphne Dunne in the 1980s. As if to confirm her hidden identity, an arrow thudded into her front door.

Perfectly constructed, executed and with a huge emotional wallop.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 5 out of 5.





Sherwood airs on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK

REVIEW Sherwood (S1 E4/6)

Cor, just when you think you’ve got a handle on where Sherwood is going, it goes off in a different direction.

Take Scott Rowley. The crossbowman-at-large looks, for all the world, to be Gary Jackson’s murderer. In tonight’s opening scene, friend of Ian and Helen St Clair, Jacob Harris, is playing golf with two friends – one female, the other male. Suddenly, there’s another arrow out of the blue, which thudded into their golf cart, and then into Harris’s female friend’s stomach. It was a horrid scene.

Tasked with interviewing Harris in the hospital was Salisbury, which may not have been the best idea because he shithouses Harris superbly with his wife Jenny (the woman who he still loves) standing next to him. Thanks to some expert manoeuvring, he basically uncovered an affair between Jacob Harris and his female golfing partner. You can tell he took some pleasure from exposing him.

But what this scene did – or seemed to – is to expose Scott Rowley as the killer. It wasn’t explicitly shown in previous episodes. Despite him traipsing around the woods with a crossbow on his back, we never actually saw him shoot his arrows at anyone. And you know what crime dramas are like – they like to take you down avenues, present suspects like they’re bang to rights and then reveal things differently.

But certainly, at this moment, Scott Rowley looked like the man.

A clever twist – one of several in this episode – saw the Met called in to assist with people power and boots on the ground (as well as helicopters and all the bells and whistles the Met can bring to a manhunt). The return of the Met was, of course, extremely loaded. The last time they were in Ashfield was the miners’ strike, and we all know how well that went for everyone.

But still, they were needed. And their presence – dozens of officers almost marching through the streets – upped the urgency and upped the jeopardy. Ashfield was already a community on a precipice, but with the Met back in town you just felt that it was only a matter of time that someone – or something – would break.

Before we get to the really big news in this really great episode, we need to talk about Andy Fisher. On the run and deep in the woods, he turned into an almost Gollum-like figure, chatting to himself madly as he considered what to do. Take his own life? Turn himself in? Talk about a person unravelling.

It was heartbreaking and strange and conflicting, and and excellent writing by James Graham once again, who has made him so… multi-faceted. Andy Fisher was a murderer who carried out an act of shocking violence, but I couldn’t help but feel slightly sorry for him, as strange as that sounds. He had stored up years of pent-up rage and emotion after the untimely death of his wife, and it didn’t take much for him to snap. Graham has placed him in a grey area – a man who did an awful thing, the worst thing, but provided reasons for it. Andy Fisher is just one of a whole boat-load of characters in Sherwood who are written with this kind of depth and nuance.

But back to the episode. There was a twist when Fisher encroached on the part of the forest Scott Rowley was hiding in. Rowley knocked him unconscious and dragged him back to his camp. Why would he do this? It was a strange move for a man on the run who had been stalking the Met officers searching the forest for him. (And hadn’t those hapless campers we saw encounter Rowley and Fisher heard there was a nutcase with a crossbow at large in the forest?)

But now then… we also got some interesting developments when it came to the ‘spy cop’ story strand. St Clair and Salisbury had already determined that the best way to catch Rowley was to figure out who the spy cop was because they were convinced the two parts were connected. They got confirmation from an NUM lawyer (oh hello, Lindsay Duncan!) that spy cops not only existed but also Thatcher’s government actively courted and encouraged all-out war between the miners in order to serve their anti-union, pro-free-market aspirations (I’m sure this political dimension will enrage many). “We’re an old country with a lot of past,” she told them, sagely.

Now armed with the confirmation that spy cops did indeed exist, it was time to really focus on who the culprit might be. I thought it might be Julie Jackson, or perhaps even Daphne Sparrow (just hunches on both) or even Ian St Clair or Kevin Salisbury themselves. But an interesting name cropped up… Helen St Clair, Ian’s wife.

Salisbury found that her file had been made restricted, so suddenly Helen was the prime suspect – she had come from out of town for reasons unknown, so she ticked all the boxes.

More intrigue happened when Salisbury travelled back to London to confront his boss over the whole spy cop concept. He gave him a name of a former officer pictured in a newspaper article – Robbie Platt, the same name in Gary Jackson’s notebook from episode three. Robbie Platt – not his real name – turned out to be a man on his death bed, who admitted that there were five undercover officers circulating and working undercover in Ashfield in 1984. They each had a romantic poet’s name for a codeword. All of them had come back, except one.


As the addled former officer decided to say no more, that’s when Helen St Clair telephoned Salisbury. Yikes!

A lot more happened in this episode, too. Shout-out to the aforementioned Daphne Sparrow (played brilliantly by Lorraine Ashworth), the matriarch of the Sparrow family really kicked arse tonight (why does she remind me slightly of Ma Boswell in Bread?). And a shout-out to the merest hint of reconciliation – both between St Clair and Salisbury and between Julie and sister Cathy Rowley.

It’s these stories of healing and of redemption that make Sherwood so compelling and gives it a real human quality in among all the sturm and drang.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.




Sherwood airs on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK

REVIEW Sherwood (S1 E3/6)

After the jump-out-of-your-seat conclusion to episode two, Sherwood has now entered interesting territory. There’s no doubt it has, so far, been a very powerful story and compelling whodunit. But now we have two juxtaposing murders to deal with.

Right at the start of each episode, we are told that this story is based on two real-crimes – murders – that occurred in the Ashfield area. To begin with we were wondering who the second victim would be. Naturally, all eyes would be on the crossbow person who slain Gary Jackson. But the second murder was a domestic – we saw Tory councillor Sarah Vincent viciously bludgeoned by her seemingly mild-mannered father-in-law, Andy Fisher.

So now we have two juxtaposing elements being juggled – a whodunit, by its very definition a narrative device where we don’t know who perpetrated the murder; and a murder where we do know who did it. They really are two contrasting elements in play, and I wondered how writer Jamie Graham would balance the two successfully.

The first two episodes were superb, and so was this mid-series instalment. Quite naturally, Ian St Clair thought – wanted even – there to be a link between the murder of Gary Jackson and Sarah Vincent. In some way, it would’ve made him and his team’s life easier in some strange way. But his reluctant partner – Kevin Salisbury – thought otherwise. The MO was starkly different, so why would they be linked?

Throughout this episode these two really rubbed each other the wrong way. Salisbury dared to ask the questions St Clair could not ask of his friends and fellow community members (a good thing, actually) and the two’s fracturing relationship culminated in Salisbury inexplicably visiting the miners’ club and, after being recognised, getting into a drunken fight. St Clair collected him and the two launched into each other on the drive back – Salisbury blamed him for ruining his life, while St Clair still held a grudge because he was the one who had to stay behind and clear up the mess Salisbury and his Met pals had made during the strike.

In fact, throughout the episode, a strong motif emerged – one of two people, each embodying two sides of an argument being pitted against each other. St Clair and Salisbury, Julie and her sister Cathy… the list goes on.

Also in the episode, we got some touching and sensitively handled back story about the community and their divisions. Local football team Nottingham Forest were hosting Barnsley. Nottinghamshire seemed to have mostly seen its miners cross the picket lines back in the 1980s, whereas those in Barnsley were very much pro-strike. A bus-load of Barnsley supporters – led by Stephen Tomkinson as the charismatic and dangerous Warnock – were intent on paying their respects to their fallen comrade, Gary Jackson.

There were some tense scenes here, but also believable and dramatically very strong.

By the end of the episode, Scott Rowley was still at large and feckless, cowardly Andy Fisher – played oh-so-convincingly and with nuance by Adeel Ahktar – was on the run, surely soon for the cells. And we also edged a tiny bit closer to finding out what happened between St Clair and Salisbury on that fateful night, AND a name when it came to the ‘spy cop’… Robbie Platt.

Another very good episode.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.



Sherwood airs on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK

REVIEW Sherwood (S1 E2/6)

After the excellent start to Sherwood on Monday night, all eyes were on episode two. That first instalment to this story introduced us to a sprawling, top-line ensemble cast who were tasked with bringing to life the story of a former mining community in Nottinghamshire, rocked by the murder of father, grandfather and former miner, Gary Jackson. Instead of many of his colleagues, Jackson was fully and passionately in agreement with the strike, while many of the miners in the town chose to carry on working.

If the mining angle seems a little niche, tell that to these real communities that still exist – those like we see in this show – because such was the division and such was the damage caused by the strike, long-held beefs exist 30 years down the line.

With a deep and emotive social context underpinning it, Sherwood excelled with character, too – it took its time to provide full, believable profiles before the murder hit.

And now the aftermath and the continuing investigation.

DCI Ian St Clair (played with a quiet intensity and a kind of benevolence by the always-terrific David Morrissey) had to contend with the arrival of DI Kevin Salisbury from the Met in London. Again, people in Ashfield remember the Met officers’ role in policing the strike in 1984, and not least St Clair, who deals with Salisbury with a mixture of professionalism and disdain.

However, Salisbury tags along when the team when it’s called out to a train that has been shot at with an arrow – the same MO that killed Gary Jackson. Driving the train was Andy Fisher, father-in-law to Tory councillor Sarah Vincent.

More on Andy later. Much more on Andy later.

Another person is targeted by the crossbow person, this time Gary Jackson’s lawyer, who reveals that he and his deceased client were working on the assumption that a ‘spy cop’ sent to infiltrate the local community during the miners’ strike in ‘84 was still living in the town (a ‘spy cop’ being someone sent to go undercover among radical organisations to feed information back to their superiors).

The miners’ angle is ever-present in this story, and it may well be the key to finding whoever killed Gary Jackson in the end. But for now, we can see how this subject is still so emotive for the people – from those connected to the original strike, to Sarah Vincent (who embodies the Conservative side of the argument), to St Clair and, especially in this episode, Salisbury, who is rocked by just how thick and resonant his own memories are from that period (we’re talking love affairs, all sorts).

But Sherwood is also a murder-mystery, and it also did a fine job of developing the case – we saw two male members of the Sparrow family hauled in for questioning when the police find evidence of a drugs link between them and Gary Jackson, and finally Scott Rowley became suspect number one. We’d seen Scott in the woods throughout episode one and in this instalment, too, with his bow and arrow, and now St Clair and the team have now peered into his garage – a veritable planning hub with newspaper cut-outs on the wall and maps to boot.

But is it too early in the piece to nail Scott as the perp? We’ll see.

Whatever happens, you just can’t take your eyes off Sherwood – it’s just terrific, with shades of Happy Valley, Mare Of Easttown and Broadchurch… in fact, it has the same feel and tone that any high-quality whodunit set in a small, working-class town.

This episode ended on a genuine, jump-out-of-your-seat moment, too, when Andy Fisher clobbered Sarah Vincent with a gardening implement after she had goaded him about his late wife. It was a violent and completely unexpected scene, especially when you consider Adeel Akhtar plays such a loveable, seemingly eccentric character. It just shows you that anyone has that inexcusable violence within them.

Sherwood is a heady brew, for sure, and something tells me that it’s about to get headier still.

A few other observations? It’s great to see former DI Banks actress Andrea Lowe back on our screens again. And if Jamie Graham is rightly getting plaudits for his story and authentic script, admiration should also be expressed for Lewis Arnold’s direction. There have been some very Broadchurch-like tracking shots and pacing on show, and there was a pleasing focus on neon in the back end of this episode – from the cross in St Clair’s incident room to the panels on the ceiling in a supermarket. Perhaps just a stylistic feature, but it’s worth noting that Kevin Salisbury was in both scenes featuring the quasi-religious iconography. Could guilt for a wrongdoing in his past be weighing heavily and he’s about to atone for his sins?

Episode three next week, and it’s safe to say that, so far, this is unmissable stuff.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 5 out of 5.


REVIEW Sherwood (S1 E1/6)

Written by James Graham, Sherwood is a new, six-part primetime crime series on BBC One. When the channel announced it, along came with it a stellar ensemble cast – David Morrissey, Alun Armstrong, Lesley Manville, Joanne Froggatt, Perry Fitzpatrick, Adeel Akhtar, Claire Rusbrook, Robert Glenister… the list goes on. It fairly bursts with fantastic character actors from the world of British TV and film.

So already there’s a reason to watch it.

But what you take away from episode one is not just the sheer class of the cast (who are all, predictably and gratifyingly, excellent), but also the strong writing, the structure and the addictive whodunit nature of the plot.

The opening montage splices together real news footage from the violent and destructive miners’ strike of 1984 giving powerful context to this story. Ashfield, a mining town in Nottinghamshire, is a community that doesn’t forget easily. It’s like any other working-class British town, but there’s something that simmers below the surface – during the strike in the mid-1980s, the town was split between those who striked and those who did not, called ‘scabs’. The fault lines and mistrust linger to this day. No more so than with the character, Gary Jackson (Armstrong), a veteran from 1984 who calls people a ‘scab’ whenever he can. It might be near to 40 years past, but – as I mentioned earlier – the fault lines still exist.

Now, this is a murder mystery but the pleasing thing is that Sherwood takes its time to introduce us and for us to get to know the characters. We meet the Jackson family, which includes Julie (Manville) and her estranged sister Cathy, who lives on the same road with her wheezing husband Fred and their son, who’s ‘enjoying’ his last days of freedom before he gets sent down for a crime we still don’t know. The two families don’t get on.

We meet the ne’er do well Swallow family, and also the local-copper-made-good Ian St Clair (Morrissey).

It’s just nice to see a drama that takes its time – there’s no murder right at the start, and everything’s fairly linear… it’s proper, rich character drama with some wonderful acting and some wonderful lines (I particularly liked the “there’s somebody at the door” refrain by Julie… one for all you 80s kids out there). However, tragedy, ahem, strikes, the community when Gary is slain on the way back from the local miners’ welfare club thanks to an arrow to the chest (well, it is Nottinghamshire, and the show is called Sherwood, after all). By the time the murder happens (after around 30 minutes), I felt I really knew the characters, which is a rare treat indeed. The Ashfield presented to us here is one of great authenticity and depth – as normal as can be, with knotty relationships and people rubbing up against each other, but also people trying their best to live their lives despite a fractured identity (the miners’ strike really did have that effect on many, many communities in the Midlands and the north of England). There’s warmth, humour and emotion. In fact, Sherwood has a Happy Valley feel to it.

The murder brings St Clair back into contact with the community he left, and it’s a personal case. While looking at Gary’s case file, he finds that much of his arrest file (he was done for arson during the strikes) had been redacted by a Met police officer – DI Kevin Salisbury (Glenister) – who is sent back to Ashfield to help smooth things over.

It’s a tantalising prospect for what’s to come – an emotive social context, a murder mystery and a potential conspiracy.

Part two is tomorrow night, but this was a very strong start.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Sherwood is airing on BBC One in the UK, and is available to watch on BBC iPlayer

Sherwood: When is David Morrissey crime drama on BBC One?

Sherwood was announced by the BBC last year, and now it’s heading our way.

Inspired in part by real events and set in the Nottinghamshire mining village where Graham grew up, at the heart of Sherwood lie two shocking and unexpected killings that shatter an already fractured community and spark a massive manhunt. As suspicion and antipathy build – both between lifelong neighbours and towards the police forces who descend on the town – the tragic killings threaten to inflame historic divisions sparked during the miners’ strike three decades before.

Detective Chief Superintendent Ian St Clair (David Morrissey), is a lifer in the Nottinghamshire constabulary, having risen through the ranks. Canny and a good judge of character, he is a formidable and empathetic detective with an impressive track record to prove it. When he is tasked with finding the link between these two killings, he is forced to reunite with DI Kevin Salisbury, an old rival from the Metropolitan Police, whose return to the town threatens heightens the already febrile tensions running through the community.

Alongside Morrissey is a stellar ensemble that comprises Joanne Froggatt, Robert Glenister, Alun Armstrong, Lesley Manville, Adeel Akhtar, Claire Rushbrook, Kevin Doyle, Lorraine Ashbourne, Phillip Jackson, Perry Fitzpatrick, Adam Hugill and Stephen Tompkinson.

Sherwood: Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th June, BBC One

BBC announced cast and shares first-look image for Sherwood

Casting has been announced and the first pictures from set revealed, as filming gets underway on James Graham’s new BBC One drama, Sherwood

Inspired in part by real events and set in the Nottinghamshire mining village where Graham grew up, at the heart of Sherwood lie two shocking and unexpected killings that shatter an already fractured community and spark a massive manhunt. As suspicion and antipathy build – both between lifelong neighbours and towards the police forces who descend on the town – the tragic killings threaten to inflame historic divisions sparked during the miners’ strike three decades before.

Detective Chief Superintendent Ian St Clair (David Morrissey), is a lifer in the Nottinghamshire constabulary, having risen through the ranks. Canny and a good judge of character, he is a formidable and empathetic detective with an impressive track record to prove it. When he is tasked with finding the link between these two killings, he is forced to reunite with DI Kevin Salisbury, an old rival from the Metropolitan Police, whose return to the town threatens heightens the already febrile tensions running through the community.

Detective Inspector Kevin Salisbury (Robert Glenister) has little desire to return to Ashfield. There are too many reminders of what happened in 1984, and he’s unlikely to get the warmest of welcomes from the local police force nor the local community. But he has orders to follow, and he’s determined to prove that he stands for honour and integrity.

And it’s not just the arrival of the Met police which stirs up old memories. With the reappearance in the town of Yorkshireman and staunch NUM member Warnock (Stephen Tompkinson) new seeds of suspicion surrounding the events from 1984 are sown when he alludes to activity of the Met Police’s undercover police unit during the strikes.

Also in the cast is Lesley manville, Adeel Akhtar, Perry Fitzpatrick and Alun Armstrong.

Expect this next year.

BBC announces new crime drama Sherwood

Inspired in part by real events, James Graham has created a brand-new fictional crime drama, Sherwood, set in the Nottinghamshire mining village where he grew up.

The contemporary six-part drama for BBC One sees two shocking and unexpected murders shatter an already fractured community leading to one of the largest manhunts in British history. Suspicion is rife and the tragic murders threaten to inflame historic divisions sparked during the Miners’ Strike that tore families apart three decades before.

To solve the murders, police inspectors Ian St Clair, from the local constabulary, and Kevin Salisbury from the Met, must reunite and bury a rivalry that stretches back to 1984, in an attempt to heal wounds, and catch a killer. But can a community repair itself as more is discovered about those who live there, and whether they really are who they say they are?

James Graham says: “It means the world to have this opportunity to bring the voices of a community I grew up in to BBC One. So much is spoken about the divisions and difficulties in these ‘Red Wall’ towns, but they’re not always understood. I feel so honoured to be able to tell a fictionalised story about a very real trauma, but with the humour and heart and resilience of the people I know and love there.”

Filming on Sherwood will begin later in 2021 in Nottinghamshire.