Creators of Bodyguard and Line of Duty to make new BBC thriller inspired by Scotland's nuclear weapons base

Line of Duty star Martin Compston has been cast in one of the main roles in Scotland's new nuclear weapons thriller Vigil.
Line of Duty star Martin Compston has been cast in one of the main roles in Scotland's new nuclear weapons thriller Vigil.
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The long-running controversy over the housing of the UK’s nuclear weapons system in the west coast of Scotland is to be centre stage in a major new BBC drama announced by the creators of Bodyguard and Line of Duty.

Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey star Rose Leslie, Line of Duty favourite Martin Compston and former Coronation Street star Suranne Jones will be among the star-studded cast of Vigil.

Coronation Street and Doctor Foster star Suranne Jones will play the lead role of Amy Silva in Vigil.

Coronation Street and Doctor Foster star Suranne Jones will play the lead role of Amy Silva in Vigil.

Due to be set and filmed entirely in Scotland, it is being made for BBC One by World Productions, whose other recent dramas include In Plain Sight, about the Scottish serial killer Peter Manuel. The show is also being backed by Scottish Government-funded agency Screen Scotland.

The plot of the new six-part series, which is about to go into production and expected to be screened later this year, is billed as “a conspiracy that threatens the very heart of Britain’s nuclear deterrent”.

The series is expected to draw heavily on the fact that the HM Naval Clyde Base at Faslane and Coulpourt has been home to the submarine-based Trident system for more than 50 years.

The drama's storyline, created by Bafta-nominated screenwriter Tom Edge, will unfold following the mysterious disappearance of a fishing trawler and a death on-board a Trident nuclear submarine.

Vigil's cast will also feature Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey star Rose Leslie.

Vigil's cast will also feature Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey star Rose Leslie.

Edge, writer of the recent Judy Garland biopic, said Vigil would explore “a contentious part of national life for half a century now, a stock of nuclear missiles kept hundreds of feet below the sea surface”.

Other cast members include Anjli Mohindra, who played the key role of Nadia in Bodyguard, Connor Swindells, star of the hit new Netflix series Sex Education, Glasgow-born Billy Elliot star Gary Lewis, and Whitechapel and Ashes to Ashes actor Shaun Evans.

In Vigil, Jones, who won a string of awards for her lead role in the BBC drama Doctor Foster five years ago and starred in the new historic drama Gentleman Jack last year, will play Amy Silva, a detective leading an investigation on both land and sea.

She said: “Tom Edge has created a thrill of a story, set in a world I knew nothing about.

"The cast and crew put together to tell this story is so exciting.

"Amy Silva is a brilliantly complex character, thrown into a highly-charged situation where her authority is weakened. We watch as she navigates her own personal trauma and loss, all at a time when she’s questioning her relationships and life choices. It feels fresh and relevant and I can’t wait to start filming.”

"Aberdeen-born Leslie, who won a Scottish Bafta for the one-off drama New Town, went on to star in Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Case Histories and Luther.

"She said: “It’s thrilling to be back working at a place that feels like home with Tom Edge’s complex and gripping script.”

Edge said: “I can’t wait to take a BBC One audience down with us, into the pitch-black icy waters of the unseen Atlantic, where tomorrow’s geopolitical struggles are already being played out.”

World Productions said Vigil would be the first show to be made out of its new Scottish office.

Creative director Simon Heath said: "We couldn’t ask for a stronger cast, led by the brilliant Suranne Jones and Rose Leslie."

A spokeswoman for Screen Scotland said: "“It is fantastic news that World Productions have had their first commission out of their Scottish office. Set and filmed in Scotland, Vigil promises to grip audiences with a thrilling story backed by an incredible cast.”