Prime Suspect 1973, ITV: cast, locations, and three things to know about the Helen Mirren classic prequel

Ben Travis

Here’s something we never thought we’d write: Prime Suspect is back on ITV.

Eleven years after Helen Mirren’s classic detective series drew to a close after 15 critically-acclaimed episode, the show has been revived for a prequel.

Head back into the Seventies as the show finds a new lease of life in the past.

Here are five things you need to know.

1) It’s based on Lynda La Plante’s novels

Don’t worry, Jane Tennison purists – this prequel isn’t just an ITV idea. 22 years after Lynda La Plante’s third and final Prime Suspect novel was published, she returned to the lead character with a prequel called Tennison in 2015.

That was followed up by a prequel-sequel called Hidden Killers – so there’s plenty of material to draw from.

2) Stefanie Martini takes on Helen Mirren’s classic role

You have to hand it to Stefanie Martini – it’s no mean feat taking on a role made famous by Helen Mirren, with Tennison now a 22 year-old newcomer to the police force in Hackney.

“I think she’s amazing and it’s great to have the opportunity to look back at the character,” the 26 year-old said. “Helen’s performances are amazing and I found it really challenging and exciting to be stepping into her shoes.”


3) The rest of the cast

Also starring in the new series is Australian actor Sam Reid, who has starred in films including Belle, ’71, and The Riot Club, here playing DI Len Bradfield.

Then there’s Blake Harrison, aka the Inbetweeners’ Neil, as DS Spencer Gibbs, veteran character actor Alun Armstrong as gangster Clifford Bentley, and Ruth Sheen as his wife Renee.


4) It still a murder mystery plot

The time period might be different, but it’s still the same Prime Suspect you know and love. Episode 1 kicks off a mystery plot as a young woman is found murdered – and it’s up to Tennison and the station to solve the crime.

5) It was filmed in London

The show is largely set in Hackney, but it was filmed across the capital, including Waterloo and way out in Uxbridge.

“We were isolated in this police station in a department store in West London for four months, so it was nice when we got to be on set in all these beautiful, amazing houses,” says Martini.

“We were by all these roads in Waterloo that look like they’ve been untouched since the 1930s. There’s no sign of modern life there – that’s amazing.”

ITV, 9pm