Chris Lang is the writer and producer of over one hundred and twenty hours of prime time British drama. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, leaving in 1983 to work at Nottingham Playhouse for six months. There he met fellow actor Hugh Grant, and the two of them formed a comedy writing partnership (later joined by fellow Rada student Andy Taylor) called ‘The Jockeys of Norfolk’, who enjoyed great success at the Edinburgh Festival, and who went on to star in their own TV comedy showcase.
Lang then moved in to writing for other comedians, including Jack Dee, Jonathan Ross, David Frost and Smith & Jones before turning to drama in the early nineties. He cut his teeth on prime time staples such as ‘The Bill’ ( picking up a Writer’s Guild award along the way) ‘Casualty’, ‘Soldier Soldier’ and ‘The Knock’, before creating his first original drama for ITV in 2000, ‘The Glass’, starring John Thaw and Sarah Lancashire.
Since then he has written and created over eighty five hours of original prime time drama, including ‘Torn’ (nominated for an RTS award), ‘Amnesia’ (nominated for an ‘Edgar’) and ‘A Mother’s Son’ (nominated for a Broadcast Award).
In 2015 he created, wrote and executive produced ‘Unforgotten’ starring Nicola Walker, Sir Tom Courtenay, Bernard Hill, Gemma Jones, Trevor Eve and Sanjeev Baskar. It premiered on October 8th 2015 to 7.5 million viewers and wide critical acclaim. Sir Tom Courtenay later won the 2016 BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor for his role, and was nominated for a Royal Television Society award for his performance, while Nicola Walker was nominated at the Broadcasting Press Guild awards for best actress.
The show was recommissioned for a second season and broadcast in January 2017. Once again it starred Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar, alongside Mark Bonnar, Rosie Cavaliero, Douglas Hodge, Bill Patterson, Lorraine Ashbourne, Wendy Craig, Badria Timini, Adil Aktar and Holly Aird. The first episode aired to an audience of 7.3 million and universal critical acclaim, with the Daily Telegraph later asking if Unforgotten was ‘The detective drama of the decade’. Mark Bonnar went on to win a best actor Bafta for his portrayal of Colin Osbourne, and in March 2017, it was confirmed the characters would return for a third series.
Series three, starring James Fleet, Alex Jennings, Neil Morrissey and Kevin McNally, aired in July 2018, once again, to universal critical acclaim and the highest ratings of all three series, with Alex Jennings being nominated for a Bafta as best supporting actor for his portrayal of Dr Tim Finch. In 2018 it was also announced that a remake of the show was being developed in America for ABC, by Sony and BBC Worldwide and in September 2018 it was announced it would return for a 4th series in the UK, which will go in to pre-production in October 2019.
In 2007 he co-formed TXTV with Matt Arlidge and Jeremy Gwilt, through which he now makes much of his original drama, and through which he shot ‘Innocent’, a four part drama which broadcast in May 2018. It opened to an audience of 8.01 million, and was the most widely watched new drama of the year on ITV, with the Express calling it ‘The TV drama that has got the whole nation watching… a spellbinding whodunit’. In Feb 2019, shooting wrapped on a German remake of Innocent, and in May 2019, it was announced that Innocent 2, will return in 2020.
Several of Lang’s dramas have also been remade in France, including Tu Es Mon Fils, which was nominated for the POLAR Cognac awards, ‘Entre Deux Mères’, which was selected for the Luchon film and TV festival, and ‘Quand Je Serai Grande Je te Tuerai’ which aired in October 2017. All three aired to overnight audiences of over six million and In 2018 two further shows created by Chris were made in France. An eight part romantic comedy called ‘Plan Coeur’ for Netflix, which aired in December 2018, and a remake of his English show ‘The Reckoning’. In January 2019, it was announced ‘Plan Coeur’ would return for a second season, shooting in the spring of 2019, in Paris.
In November 2018, Dark Heart, a six part serial, starring Tom Riley, Miranda Raison and Charlotte Riley, aired on TV, to a first night audience of over seven million.
Following delays due to Covid 19, filming was finally completed on Unforgotten 4 in late 2020 and it finally broadcast on the February 22nd 2021. Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar reprised their roles and were joined by Susan Lynch, Phaldut Sharma, Liz White, Andy Nyman and Dame Sheila Hancock. The show was once again the recipient of multiple five star reviews across all media. It averaged a whopping 9.6 million viewers across the series, an increase of over two and a half million on series three.
Innocent 2 will broadcast on May 17th, and will star Katherine Kelly, Shaun Dooley, Priyanga Burford and Jamie Bamber.
In January 2021 it was announced that Viaplay/Elisa were remaking ‘A Mother’s Son‘ in Finland. Shooting will start in the spring and the show will air later in the year.
Lang has talked at, amongst others, Bafta, The BFI, The London Film Academy, Bournemouth, Chichester and Staffordshire University, and been invited to talk at TV festivals across Europe, including in France, Belgium and Spain.