The Long Call: ITV announce new four-part drama adaptation

ITV has announced a TV adaptation of best-selling novel The Long Call.


The “evocative and gripping four-part event drama” is inspired by the book of the same title from award-winning writer Ann Cleeves, creator of the iconic Vera and Shetland series.

Kelly Jones (Baptiste, Des, Call The Midwife, The Good Karma Hospital) will write and adapt the four episodes in her first solo series.

ITV tease: “The character-led, atmospheric crime drama is driven by an intriguing and flawed protagonist, Detective Inspector Matthew Venn, who has returned to live in a small community in North Devon with his husband, Jonathan. It’s a place Matthew walked away from 20 years ago, after being rejected by his family.

“We first meet the reserved, but intense Matthew Venn outside the local church as his father’s funeral takes place. Sadly, the day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too.

“Now he’s back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major murder. A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew’s new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, has been stabbed to death.

“Through Venn and his team’s investigation, we are introduced to a wonderfully rich ensemble of characters, in a compelling crime story which captures the stark beauty of the North Devon coastline, and a community where murder and intrigue bubble beneath the surface.”


Silverprint Pictures will produce the series in association with ITV Studios. Kate Bartlett (Flesh and Blood, Shetland, Vera, Dark Heart) is executive producing and Angie Daniell (Vigil, Alex Rider, Clique) producing. Lee Haven Jones (Dr Who, Shetland, The Bay) will direct the four episodes.

ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, said: “I’m delighted that ITV is working with Silverprint Pictures to bring another of Ann’s brilliant novels to screen.

“It’s very different to Vera, but I think audiences will take to DI Matthew Venn and this compelling story in the same way. Kelly has written a wonderful adaptation and this promises to be a really distinctive and original new crime series.”


Kate Bartlett added: “After almost a decade working together, we are thrilled to be continuing our creative partnership with Ann. The Long Call is a rich and deeply engrossing mystery with a whole host of new Cleeves characters led by the inimitable Matthew Venn.

“Just as the novel feels like a progression of Ann’s writing, this feels like the opportunity to create a unique and ambitious event crime drama with a wholly iconic character at its heart.”

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