(by Morgan Jeffrey for Digital Spy)
First launched with a feature-length pilot two years ago, ITV’s Dark Heart is finally returning for a full series, with Tom Riley reprising his role of DI Will Wagstaffe.
So why the long wait? And with the original pilot being recut into the first two episodes of the new series, will we notice the leap from episode two to the newly-shot episode three and beyond?
“I was first asked to adapt the first novel in the Wagstaffe series [by author Adam Creed] eight years ago,” Dark Heart writer Chris Lang, best known for scripting ITV’s other crime hit Unforgotten, tells Digital Spy.
“It was by the BBC. I wrote a script which – for any number of the reasons scripts don’t fly – did not land at the Beeb. Then someone who I worked with at the BBC moved to ITV, and a few years later, they picked it up and said, ‘We always liked the script. It should have gone.”
“They were looking for projects for their new channel – or new-ish channel – Encore at that point, which could be a little more edgy, a little darker, a little more provocative. And this seemed to fit the bill.”
The two-hour Dark Heart pilot aired on November 9, 2016, but the closure of ITV Encore led to a hiatus before a full series could go into production for ITV. “There was a contractual obligation to allow them to be able to show it for 18 months, I think,” Lang says. ”
We would’ve gone to a series quicker if there hadn’t been a tie-in with Encore for a year or so. But that gave us time to start getting our ducks in a row.” (read the full interview at Digital Spy)