Northern Ireland

Bloodlands: James Nesbitt to star in NI-based BBC drama

James Nesbitt
Image caption Nesbitt will play a PSNI detective called Tom Brannick

James Nesbitt is to star in a new BBC crime drama set and filmed in Northern Ireland.

Line of Duty and Bodyguard creator Jed Mercurio is also one of those behind Bloodlands.

The thriller will be broadcast on BBC One across the UK when complete.

Nesbitt, who comes from Coleraine, is to play a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detective called Tom Brannick who has to re-investigate an infamous cold case.

The new drama was announced by the BBC's director of nations and regions Ken MacQuarrie at the Belfast Media Festival on Wednesday.

The drama begins when a car containing a possible suicide note is pulled from Strangford Lough.

That puts Nesbitt on the hunt for a legendary assassin.

Bloodlands will be set and filmed in and around Strangford Lough and in Belfast.

It has been written by Chris Brandon and will be directed by Pete Travis, whose previous work includes the film Omagh.

Image caption The Bodyguard was the BBC's most watched drama for a decade

Travis has also directed some episodes of the ITV comedy drama Cold Feet - the series which initially made Nesbitt a star.

Mercurio is the executive producer for Bloodlands as the series will be made by his company HTM Television.

Line of Duty, which is also filmed in Northern Ireland, has been hugely successful with a sixth series already commissioned by the BBC.

The Bodyguard, meanwhile, was the most watched BBC drama for a decade when it was broadcast in 2018.

There will be widespread expectation that the combination of Nesbitt and Mercurio will make Bloodlands another small screen hit.

It will be produced with funding from Northern Ireland Screen.

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