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Our Girl and Fleabag star Ben Aldridge to lead cast of new ITV drama The Long Call

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ITV has announced new drama The Long Call based on the book of the same name.

Our Girl and Fleabag actor Ben Aldridge is set to take the leading role as DI Matthew Venn in the adaptation.

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Ben will be joined by Juliet Stevenson playing Matthew Venn’s mother, Dorothy and Martin Shaw as the spiritual Brethren leader Dennis.

Further cast includes Anita Dobson, Neil Morrissey, Pearl Mackie, Dylan Edwards, Sarah Gordy, Amit Shah and Alan Williams.

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

Des and Baptiste screenwriter, Kelly Jones, will write all four episodes in her first solo series.

Novelist Ann Cleeves said: “I can’t think of anyone who could play Matthew Venn better than Ben Aldridge. He will bring an authenticity and commitment to the role. I always hoped that the actor chosen would come from Devon, where the books are set, and he does.

"Ben was the actor who read the audio book even before the TV show was commissioned. I love his pared-back, restrained narration. He’s worked on the novel as well as the script, and so he understands the character in depth. No author could wish for more.”

ITV tease of the drama: "The character-led, atmospheric crime drama is driven by the 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."

Ben Aldridge said: "I’m delighted to be playing Matthew Venn, a brilliantly unorthodox detective who audiences will see solving a gripping and intricate case, whilst simultaneously surmounting a deeper, more personal mystery within himself.

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"It’s a poignant and complex journey of self-discovery and sexual and religious identity, which navigates the tension between pride and shame, and I feel privileged to be bringing it to ITV viewers in The Long Call.”

Filming begins in April with a release date to be confirmed.

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