Channel 4 has ordered a new four-part drama, The Virtues (working title), written by Shane Meadows and Jack Thorne (This is England).
Stephen Graham (This is England, ’86, ’88, ’90; Boardwalk Empire) stars as Joseph, a moral yet troubled man who’s lost everything he ever held dear and travels to Ireland to confront the demons from a childhood spent in the care system. His path soon crosses that of Dinah, played by newcomer Niamh Algar (Without Name). Helen Behan (This is England, ’88, ’90) joins the cast as Anna, the sister Joseph hasn’t seen since they were separated as children.
The 4×1-hour drama reunites many members of the This is England team. In addition to Meadows, Thorne, Graham and Behan, Mark Herbert (This is England, ’86, ’88, ’90) and Nickie Sault (This is England, ’86, ’88, ’90) are attached to the project as producers. Meadows will also serve as director.
The Warp Films production will shoot primarily on location in Sheffield, as well as in Liverpool and Belfast. The Virtues is filming now and will air on Channel 4 in 2019.
Meadows commented: “The Virtues reunites me with the peerless Stephen Graham, whilst also allowing me the chance to work with a host of supremely gifted actors and some incredible new talent. It takes the biblical, almost apocalyptic levels of revenge witnessed in Dead Man’s Shoes, along with the bittersweet humor from This is England, and creates a landscape like nothing else I’ve ever worked on.”
Beth Willis, the head of drama at Channel 4, said: “We are so thrilled that the giant of a genius that is Shane Meadows has, with Mark Herbert, chosen Channel 4 to be the home of his next extraordinary story, world and unforgettable characters. This tender love story is complex and at times dark, but always shot through with heart and a large dose of humor.”