BritBox release tense trailer for new crime drama 'The Long Hall'
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The Long Call begins on ITV on Monday evening and the four episodes will air consecutively over the course of the week. Kate Bartlett has served as executive producer on the piece, having worked on shows such as Vera and Flesh and Blood previously, bringing writer Kelly Jones’ adaptation of Ann’s work to life. Like all television shows based on books, the plot and characters are altered slightly for entertainment purposes and this drama is no different. Speaking with Express.co.uk and other press, executive producer Kate explained what fans of the novel might find different with the small-screen interpretation.
How will The Long Call be different to the book by Ann Cleeves?
Kate explained: “It’s always quite a joy to adapt [Ann’s] books. I think the biggest decision we made in terms of developing was we wanted to make this more of an event piece.
“And we wanted to prioritise the characters emotional and psychological journeys alongside the crime thriller narrative.
“This meant we didn’t stick to the point of views in that way but it is much more of an ensemble piece and it meant we added in some additional material in order to make sure we had that balance of emotional journeys and crime thrillers.
“We went slightly deeper into some of the relationships so we explored Matthew’s (played by Ben Aldridge) relationship with his mother Dorothy (Juliet Stevenson) much more than it is in the book actually.
“That to us was incredibly important to have this journey of a man returning home to a community he had left and I think we did that with all the characters.”
The executive producer explained nearly all the main protagonists are different to the book, stating: “All the characters have a strong psychological journey across the piece.”
Despite the story already being told through the words of Ann, the television adaptation has attracted some big names to the show.
Leading the way is Ben Aldridge as detective Matthew Venn, who is investigating the death of a member of the community whose body is found washed up on the beach.
Unfortunately, with little evidence pointing to a suspect, the case becomes a lot harder than the sleuth first thought.
Always quite a joy to adapt
It soon becomes clear the little town in Devon is harbouring a lot of secrets, some stretching back decades and they might hold the key to discovering who killed the person found on the beach.
Discussing signing up to join the cast, Ben said: “I had narrated the audiobook and heard afterwards that it was being commissioned by Silverprint Pictures as a TV series.
“I remember thinking at the time that, although Matthew and I were extremely different in personality and energy, there were many crossovers and experiential similarities.
“When they were originally casting, I was unavailable. Later, though, my commitments shifted and it became a possibility.”
The actor continued: “I had a long Zoom call with Lee Haven Jones (Director) and Sam Jones (Casting Director) where I remember talking about said crossovers and registering their reactions as they realised how many coincidences between Matthew and I seemed to be mounting up.
“Perhaps those connections to the story helped, but of course, I still had to self-tape an audition and then heard that they’d like me to do it,” he explained.
Talking about playing a detective, he added: “There’s an element of the detective to Thomas Wayne, who I play in DC’s Pennyworth, he’s a CIA agent, so there are similarities, but a detective in a modern British drama is definitely a first.
“I could easily have felt a little daunted when acting with Martin Shaw as he’s famously played two beloved British TV detectives.”
Ben said: “I definitely had to park any feelings of intimidation, which Martin made all the easier by being totally lovely and brilliant to work with.
“I loved acting with him. We’d get to a scene between Dennis (Martin Shaw) and Matthew and I’d think ‘This will play itself.’
“He’s so good and there was something that happened when our characters encountered each other, I never had to think about the acting, everything would just come together.”
The series will play out over the next four nights and the mystery wraps up by the end of the week, meaning viewers will discover who amongst the characters is a true killer.
The Long Call airs weeknights at 9pm on ITV.
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