James Nesbitt to star in thrilling crime drama set in Northern Ireland

James Nesbitt
James Nesbitt
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Ulster actor James Nesbitt is to star in a new ‘edge-of the seat’ television thriller which will be set in Northern Ireland, it has been revealed.

The Coleraine star, 54, who is famed for his roles in Cold Feet and The Missing, will play the lead in Bloodlands, a major original crime drama, which, it is claimed, signals the arrival of ‘Irish noir’.

Bloodlands is Co Down writer Chris Brandon’s first original drama series commission and the first drama from newly formed production firm HTM Television.

When a car containing a possible suicide note is pulled out of Strangford Lough, Northern Irish police detective Tom Brannick (James Nesbitt) quickly connects it to an infamous cold case with enormous personal significance.

Bloodlands follows his dogged hunt for a legendary assassin, an explosive cat-and-mouse game where the stakes have never been higher.

Details of the new series were announced yesterday at the Belfast Media Festival.

Commenting on the role Nesbitt said: “It’s great to be back making a drama in and about Northern Ireland, which now has a film and television industry as good as any in the world.

“We have compelling scripts from a brilliant young writer who was raised in Co Down, which are very exciting and psychologically complex. I can’t wait to start.”

Chris Brandon added: “I’m absolutely delighted that the first opportunity I get to tell a story on this scale, it is one that is so close to home and the people and places that raised me.”

Executive producer Jed Mercurio, whose own works include Line of Duty and Bodyguard, said: “It’s been incredibly rewarding to discover Chris Brandon’s work and to witness the development of an outstanding new voice in contemporary television thriller writing, added to which everyone at HTM Television is honoured an actor of James Nesbitt’s brilliance will star in our debut production.”

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, added: “In Bloodlands Chris has crafted a cracking contemporary thriller which manages to be both completely gripping while shining a light on to the legacy of the troubles in contemporary Northern Ireland.”

Jimmy Mulville, executive producer, said the “compelling edge-of-the-seat thriller couldn’t be more timely.”

“The ‘Irish noir’ genre has arrived,” he added.

Filming of Bloodlands will take place in and around Belfast and Strangford Lough and further casting will be announced in due course.

A date has not been given for when the new series will air on BBC One.