Dark Heart: new interview reveals the show is realistic and very fresh

There is a new photo of Tom as DI Wagstaffe on this website, highlighting new shows to watch in November. 

Dark Heart follows DI Will Wagstaffe (Tom Riley), a man tortured by his past, as he investigates the gruesome murder of Ray Collins. As the team investigates further, they learn Collins was a suspect paedophile who has previously been investigated by the police. Before long, Guy Dawlish, who was also investigated for child sex abuse, is brutally attacked in almost exactly the same way. With two unconvicted paedophiles attacked within days of each other, Staffe fears this could be just the start.

Based on Adam Creed’s Wagstaffe novel Suffer the Children, Dark Heart, which is envisioned as a pilot for what could become a series of two-hour movies similar to Maigret or Poirot before it, was adapted for television by Chris Lang and is set up at ITV Studios.

November 9 on ITV Encore at 9pm

A new interview with Tom discussing the show has been shared by The Version. Tom also mentions his new job, which is apparently a 3 part comedy for the BBC. Read the interview in full on the website.

We’ve read the official blurb but how would you describe Dark Heart?

I’d say it is a very dark police drama that pushes the boundaries of the subject matter. My character is emotionally immature, and he’s endured a horrible experience in his childhood. He saw his parents murdered in a way that has affected him greatly. He’s not great at focussing on the case and I think he makes for a very interesting character.

How did you prepare for the role?

We met Police in the force and they advised us on how to approach the subject matter. As an actor, with the darkeness of it all, you have to try and dredge up anything you can think of from your own experiences which will help you take on the role with authenticity.

How do you switch off at the end of the day, having filmed such dark material?

I just go home and switch off normally! I have absolutely no problem doing that whatsoever, I am more than happy to walk away and go to the pub and put my feet up and I don’t even think about it!

TV detectives are so often littered with clichés, how did you avoid falling into that trap?

It’s down to the script. You hope the script prevents you from slipping into clichés. This script is great, very careful not to fall into that “oh, and one last thing!” classic detective formula. There’s none of that!

Kevin Lygo, head of itv recently said he was bored of Broadchurch copycat shows. What did you make of those comments?

I think he’s right, you don’t just want copycat shows. You want to be offering something fresh. There are definitely lots of shows that have fallen into that formula and they just don’t translate to the audience because it becomes boring. Dark Heart is nothing like Broadchurch believe me. It’s very real. There aren’t eighteen suspects from the start! Dark Heart is realistic, it’s very fresh.

What TV detective dramas do you enjoy?

I enjoy things like True Detective. Shows which are engaging, well written and realistic.

Aside from Dark Heart, you’re also on the big screen in Starfish.

Tell us about that? Again, I enjoyed that because of the realism. It is an inspirational true story about a couple who had what seemed like the perfect life until he contracted septicaemia. He had to have his arms and leg removed as well as part of his face and it’s essentially a love story about their relationship.

Finally Tom, can you tell us what else is in the pipeline for you?

Sure, I’m about to start work on a three part BBC comedy and the cast is amazing. It hasn’t actually been announced yet so I can’t say too much other than it is very funny and very dark. It’s going to be brilliant. Other than that, The Collection is available on Amazon Prime, if people want to check that out.