ITV has brought a gripping new drama from writer Sarah Williams (The Long Song) to our screens, featuring an all-star cast including Imelda Staunton and Francesca Annis, and it's set to be a must-watch.
“Flesh and Blood is the modern story of three adult siblings - Helen, Jake and Natalie - who are thrown into disarray when their recently widowed mother Vivien declares she's in love with a new man,” according to ITV.
“This is no ordinary relationship drama, as someone in the family will be dead by the end of the story - but the question of who dies and who is the killer keeps us guessing right up to the last moment,” the channel added.
Flesh and Blood: Who's in it?
The cast stars Imelda Staunton (Maleficent, Paddington, Harry Potter, Vera Drake), Francesca Annis (Home Fires, The Little House, Cranford), Russell Tovey (Years and Years, Quantico) and Stephen Rea (Dickensian, War & Peace, The Honourable Woman).
Joining the ensemble cast are Claudie Blakley (Manhunt, Grantchester, Lark Rise To Candleford), Lydia Leonard (Gentleman Jack, Absentia, Apple Tree Yard), Sharon Small (London Kills, Trust Me, Born to Kill), Lara Rossi (Cheat, Crossing Lines), Keir Charles (Man Up, Love Actually, Green Wing), Vincent Regan (Victoria, The Royals, Atlantis), David Bamber (Valkyrie, Doctors, The Bourne Identity), Stephanie Langton (Ransom, Law & Order UK) and Clara Indrani (Vera, The Rebel, EastEnders).
Flesh and Blood: What's it about?
As Vivien (Francesca Annis) nears her 70th birthday, retired GP Mark (Stephen Rea) sweeps her off her feet, shifting her priorities away from her children, Helen (Claudie Blakley), Jake (Russell Tovey) and Natalie (Lydia Leonard). The happiness of her 45-year marriage is called into question, which sends a shockwave through the family.
With their large family home overlooking the Kent coast, their inheritance and the happy memories of their childhood all suddenly threatened by the arrival of Mark, the siblings attempt to find out more about him.
Then there’s Mary (Imelda Staunton), who has lived next door to Vivien for 40 years. Despite not being family, Mary appears unhealthily attached to Vivien and her family’s unfolding drama.
The show's location is remote, a decision taken by director Louise Hooper to give the series the feel of a "modern parable."
"There’s lots of crime dramas really anchored in location and clues but this is something that could be a bit more heightened so that’s what I jumped off in terms of tone. I wanted it to be like a modern parable, you’ve got the sea which you’ve got no control over, you’ve got the shingle and the two houses. A bit like a theatre stage, you’ve got the characters that come into that," she said.
"There’s no town or city, we’re not anchored to anything so it floats in its own little heightened story… We’re trying to do something different from the gritty, monochromatic noir which is very plot and detail driven. It’s something which is light and funny and joyful I hope."
Imelda Staunton agrees about the tone of the piece.
"This isn’t a very dark, dark piece, it is a bit playful," she said.
ITV’s head of drama, Polly Hill, said of the show:
“Sarah Williams perfectly captures the messy personal lives of the three siblings, and all is not what it seems. There’s so much more going on behind closed doors as we explore themes of relationships, trust, loyalty and love. Sarah cleverly weaves together this truthful family drama, through a compelling investigation that doesn’t reveal the victim until the very end.”
Sarah Williams said:
“Coming from a big family myself, I’ve always been fascinated by sibling dynamics. Our brothers and sisters can be our closest allies or our sworn enemies – often in the space of a heartbeat. There’s a bond between siblings that was formed before we were fully conscious beings – something bone-deep and instinctual. No one can make us laugh as hard or wound us as deeply as our family - and that seemed to me incredibly rich territory for a drama.”
Flesh and Blood: When's it on TV?
Flesh and Blood concludes on Thursday 27 February at 9pm on ITV. You can catch up on the first three episodes on the ITV Hub.
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