Luke Evans to lead new ITV drama The Pembrokeshire Murders

By Julia Hunt, PA Entertainment Correspondent

Luke Evans has bagged the lead role in a new ITV crime drama about murderer John Cooper.

The actor will play senior investigating officer Steve Wilkins in three-part mini-series The Pembrokeshire Murders, which is about the pursuit of the serial killer.

Evans, who is from Wales, said it was “a privilege” to be playing the role.

“It’s a huge responsibility for me, as the drama depicts a true crime which to this day still affects the families of those whose lives were tragically taken,” he added.

Commissioned by ITV’s head of drama Polly Hill, the show is from the makers of Line Of Duty and Bodyguard, World Productions, and will be executive produced by Simon Heath, the company’s chief executive.

The series was written by Nick Stevens, adapted from the book Catching The Bullseye Killer by Wilkins and ITV news journalist Jonathan Hill.

It tells the story of how two unsolved double murders from the 1980s cast a shadow over the work of the Dyfed-Powys Police force.

In 2006, newly promoted Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins decided to reopen both cases.

Employing pioneering forensic methods, he and his team found microscopic DNA and fibres that potentially linked the murders to burglaries committed in the 1980s and 1990s.

The perpetrator of those robberies was nearing the end of his prison sentence, but if Wilkins was right, he was also a serial killer.

Hill said: “Nick Stevens’s script is a fascinating and insightful account into how and why the Dyfed-Powys Police team reopened this cold case and brought a serial killer to justice after he’d evaded capture for nearly two decades.

“I have wanted to work with Luke Evans again since we made The Great Train Robbery, which Simon Heath and World Productions also produced.

“I’m delighted that The Pembrokeshire Murders is that project, as Luke will be incredible as Steve Wilkins and this is going to be an unmissable drama for our ITV audience.”

Keith Allen will play Cooper and other cast members include Owen Teale, Alexandria Riley, Caroline Berry, Oliver Ryan and David Fynn.

Filming is due to start this month.