Prime Suspect

Comfort Classic: Prime Suspect

Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect

Prime Suspect is a police procedural, one of many over the past decades, and certainly not the first or last cop show to feature serial killers, dead naked women and mean city streets. So far, so what?

But, when Lynda La Plante’s uncompromising creation was first broadcast on ITV in 1991, a nation sat up and noticed, with more than 14 million people tuning in to watch. 

Helen Mirren’s DCI Jane Tennison, appointed to head the Met’s murder squad after its boss suffers a fatal heart attack, is treated with contempt and worse by the all-male incident room.

Stefanie Martini to star in ITV's Prime Suspect prequel

The show follows a young Jane Tennison (Stefanie Martini - Doctor Thorne) who, at 22, is just starting out on her career in policing in 1970s London.

The prequel is based on a book by Prime Suspect creator Lynda La Plante. It explains how Tennison became such a powerful presence in the London Met and the personal sacrifices that she made for her career.

Sam Reid (The Riot Club, The Railway Man) and Blake Harrison (Inbetweeners, Dad’s Army) also join the cast as Tennison’s superiors, DCI Len Bradfield and DS Spencer Gibbs.

ITV’s big drama: Television speaks to drama boss Steve November

Steve November

On 18 September 2016, Steve November has a problem. At 9:00pm that night, the slot arrives in ITV’s schedule that would normally be filled by the season premiere of Downton Abbey.

As Director of Drama for the ITV network, November has to find a replacement – Downton is ending, with the last ever episode to air this coming Christmas Day. And, given Downton’s blockbuster ratings performance, it’s going to be a fiendishly difficult act to follow.