Delia Balmer: ITV announce new true crime drama starring Anna Maxwell Martin and Shaun Evans

ITV has announced a new drama telling the true story of Delia Balmer, who survived a near-fatal relationship with murderer John Sweeney.


The four-part true crime series, provisionally titled simply Delia Balmer, is based on Delia Balmer’s book, Living with a Serial Killer.

BAFTA-winning actress Anna Maxwell Martin (Motherland, A Spy Among Friends) will take the role of Delia Balmer, whilst renowned actor and director Shaun Evans (Endeavour, Vigil) will play John Sweeney. The drama is produced by World Productions (Line of Duty, Bodyguard, Vigil, Anne, Save Me, The Pembrokeshire Murders and Karen Pirie).

Anna Maxwell Martin said: “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! As it is brought to life by Nick Stevens, hopefully we will do Delia due diligence.”

Shaun Evans added: “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.”

A synopsis shares: “In 1991 Delia leads an itinerant and solitary life in London working as an agency nurse. When she meets fellow free-spirit John Sweeney in a local pub, it seems like the connection she has been searching for.

“As the relationship develops, Sweeney’s artistic, anti-establishment persona gives way to a darker side, culminating in a series of violent attacks on Delia, during which he tells her he killed his former girlfriend and disposed of her body in an Amsterdam canal.


“Sweeney is arrested but, due to a catastrophic failure by the court to realise how dangerous he is, granted bail. He immediately pursues Delia and subjects her to a horrific, near-fatal attack. She survives, but Sweeney evades capture and disappears.

“Shattered by the trauma and injuries inflicted by Sweeney, Delia bravely seeks to rebuild her life. But Sweeney returns seven years later and is arrested for the murder of another girlfriend in North London. Delia’s fragile recovery is shattered all over again as she has to face Sweeney in open court, her testimony vital to the prosecution case against him.

“This is the story of one woman’s astonishing will to survive through physical and emotional torment, despite the failings of the institutions which were meant to protect her.”


Executive Producer Simon Heath commented: “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.”

The series will air on ITV1 and ITVX with a release date to be announced.

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