The Victim’s creators bid to turn legal thriller into a regular series

James Harkness, Kelly Macdonald and John Hannah in The Victim. Picture: contributed
James Harkness, Kelly Macdonald and John Hannah in The Victim. Picture: contributed
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The creators of the gripping new BBC One drama The Victim have revealed it is set to become a regular series exploring the impact of fictional crimes in Scotland.

Trials taking place at the High Court in Edinburgh would be the centrepiece of each new series under plans being developed by writer Rob Williams and executive producer Sarah Brown.

They have confirmed work is already under way on a follow-up story to the four-part legal thriller, which is being shown across the UK network on 
four consecutive nights this week.

Kelly Macdonald, John Hannah and James Harkness are starring in the initial series, which focuses on a grieving Edinburgh mother accused of conspiring to murder a bus driver she believes killed her nine-year-old son when he was a 13-year-old.

Audiences are kept in the dark as to whether Craig Myers, the Port Glasgow family man played by Harkness who is named as a murderer hours before he is attacked, is actually child killer Eddie J Turner with a new identity after being released from prison.

Mr Williams and Ms Brown have revealed The Victim, which was made by STV Productions for the BBC, was originally conceived as a returning series, which would have a trial in Edinburgh as the “backbone” of a story.

Speaking after a Bafta Scotland screening of the opening episode in Glasgow, they said they were awaiting the green light from the BBC for another series, which would depend on audience reaction and ratings for this week’s four-parter.

The Victim was commissioned by BBC One back in August 2017, along with The Cry – a psychological drama shot in Glasgow and Melbourne starring Jenna Coleman and Ewen Leslie as a couple whose lives are turned upside down when their newborn baby is abducted while they are on holiday in Australia. Both received funding from the government agency Screen Scotland.

The Victim, which is set in Edinburgh and Port Glasgow, was filmed extensively on location in the Scottish capital, as well as Port Glasgow, Greenock and Largs.

Ms Brown, head of drama at STV Productions, said: “From the very beginning, Rob and I talked about wanting to create a show that could return.

“That’s definitely still the ambition. Rob has an idea for the next series, but it’s at the very early stages. It’s not in our gift – it will be up to the BBC.

“It wouldn’t be about this particular story returning. We would create a format into which we could pour other big, contemporary, topical stories.

“The hope is that The Victim will return, ratings and everything else being well, with a whole new story, using the High Court in Edinburgh as a spine for the show.

“The format would remain, but it would be a whole case and it could potentially keep returning.”

Mr Williams said: “I’m well down the road with an idea [for the next series]. It’s important not to do the same thing again.

“But it would involve a case in which both the plaintiff and the accused would put their case to the audience. It’s really all about the ambiguity of it.

“Whether you could ask the same questions with the idea I have for another series is the big challenge. I think it absolutely could become a regular series.

“There are a load of seeds for ideas, which could become another series.”

“But when you start working on them you have to be really rigorous to think about whether something really has legs.

“Some of the current characters could potentially return, but it really would be about whether they worked within a new story.

“I did my research at the High Court in Edinburgh. It just felt like such a great mix of the old and the new.

“You have this great weight of all those years of legal history, which is one of the themes that we look into, but when you step inside it is actually quite modern and airy.”