When ITV announced plans to launch ITV Encore, they also revealed that, within time, they would begin commissioning drama series for the channel. The commercial broadcaster today followed through on that pledge by greenlighting three-part supernatural thriller Midwinter Of The Spirit, which is ITV Encore’s first original drama series.
Midwinter Of The Spirit follows country vicar Merrily Watkins, who just happens to be one of the few women priests working as an exorcist. When a man is found murdered by crucifixion, the police, aware of her knowledge of the paranormal underworld, turn to the Vicar for assistance. Before long Merilly is convinced Satanists are behind the crime and the investigation takes them into a very dark and dangerous world.
The three-parter is based on the series of Merrily Watkins novels by Phil Rickman (which began with The Wine of Angels in 1998) and is being penned by BAFTA winning screenwriter Stephen Volk. ITV Studios is producing, with Phil Collinson on board as the series producer, and ITV Studios’ Kieran Roberts serving as executive producer. Production is set to commence in the Hereford area next April.
“Midwinter of the Spirit is a contemporary and edgy drama which draws upon dark, pagan forces which are intriguing and spiritually frightening,” said ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November, who commissioned it alongside ITV’s Controller of Drama Victoria Fea. “We’re delighted to commission three episodes of a potentially returnable crime drama with a supernatural twist”.
While Executive Producer and ITV Studios Creative Director of Drama in Manchester Kieran Roberts added: “We’re very excited to be working with Stephen Volk to bring Phil Rickman’s gripping and chilling novel to the screen. We’re also thrilled to be making one of the first original commissions for ITV Encore.”