James Nesbitt to Star in BBC One’s Bloodlands


Bloodlands, an original crime drama for BBC One, is set to star James Nesbitt (The Missing, Cold Feet).

Created by Chris Brandon and produced by Hat Trick Mercurio (HTM) Television, Bloodlands begins with a car containing a possible suicide note getting pulled out of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland. Police detective Tom Brannick (Nesbitt) quickly connects it to an infamous cold case with enormous personal significance, setting him off on a dogged hunt for a legendary assassin that turns into a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game.

Pete Travis (Omagh, The Go-Between) is directing the series, produced by Christopher Hall (The Durrells, Critical) and executive produced by Jed Mercurio, Jimmy Mulville and Mark Redhead for HTM Television and Tommy Bulfin for the BBC. It will be produced with funding from Northern Ireland Screen.

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 County Down, which are very exciting and psychologically complex. I can’t wait to start.”

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. On top of that, to be telling it with James Nesbitt, Jed Mercurio and the incredible team at HTM is a total privilege.”

Mercurio commented: “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 honored an actor of James Nesbitt’s brilliance will star in our debut production.”

Mulville said: “We’re thrilled to be making our first HTM drama not just in Northern Ireland but about Northern Ireland. This is a compelling edge-of-the-seat thriller that couldn’t be more timely. The ‘Irish noir’ genre has arrived!”

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, said: “In Bloodlands Chris has crafted a cracking contemporary thriller which manages to be both completely gripping while shining a light onto the legacy of the Troubles in contemporary Northern Ireland. We are thrilled to be working with Chris, Jimmy, Jed and the team at HTM to bring this visceral story to BBC One.”