ITV Commissions True-Crime Drama Delia Balmer


ITV has commissioned Delia Balmer (w.t.), based on Delia Balmer’s autobiography Living with a Serial Killer, from World Productions.

The series follows as Balmer develops a relationship with John Sweeney, whose artistic, anti-establishment persona gives way to a darker side in which he violently attacks her and admits he killed his former girlfriend. He is arrested but is released on bail, after which he subjects Balmer to a near-fatal attack, evades capture and disappears.

Balmer rebuilds her life, but Sweeney returns seven years later and is arrested for the murder of another girlfriend in North London. Balmer’s fragile recovery is shattered all over again as she has to face him in open court.

Anna Maxwell Martin (Motherland, A Spy Among Friends) and Shaun Evans (Endeavour, Vigil) have been cast in the lead roles.

The series is written by Nick Stevens (The Pembrokeshire Murders) and executive produced by Simon Heath (Save Me, Line of Duty, Anne), CEO of World Productions. Julia Ford (Everything I Know About Love, The Bay) is attached as director, and Ken Horn (The Devil’s Hour, Line of Duty, The Diplomat) serves as producer.

The series will debut on ITV1 and ITVX. The production has received support from the Welsh government via Creative Wales.

“Telling an important story with the excellent team from World Productions, producer Ken Horn, director Julia Ford and a brilliant cast is always an exciting proposition,” Maxwell Martin said. “As it is brought to life by Nick Stevens, hopefully we will do Delia due diligence.”

Evans said, “I’ve previously worked with World Productions and ITV separately, so I’m looking forward to joining forces to tell this story. A story that is quite rightly told through the victim’s lens, Delia. We have an excellent script from Nick Stevens, and I couldn’t be more delighted to work with Anna.”

“Delia Balmer’s story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit when facing unimaginable evil,” commented Huw Kennair Jones. “Nick Steven’s scripts have brilliantly captured the fortitude of a truly remarkable woman and her journey to achieving justice and the obstacles she had to overcome. We’re thrilled to be working with Nick, Simon Heath and World Productions again, the team behind The Pembrokeshire Murders, to bring this extraordinary story to the ITV1 and ITVX audience.”

Heath added, “Delia’s story is a unique and powerful one of a woman who survived terrible violence at the hands of a man who should never have been free to commit his heinous crimes. Delia’s story shines a light on the failings of the legal system to deal with male violence against women and so sadly still resonates today.”

“A few months after reading Living with a Serial Killer, I had my first meeting with Delia Balmer,” noted Stevens. “She was unlike anybody I’d ever met before. Still suffering from PTSD ten-plus years after John Sweeney’s conviction, Delia is, though she would never admit it, a hero. A survivor whose determination to pursue the good in life—to dance, to travel, to live—is ultimately greater than her demons. I am hugely grateful to Delia, and the police who worked with her to finally secure Sweeney’s conviction, for enabling us to tell Delia’s incredible story.”