There is a new Press Association interview with Tom Riley, promoting new series Dark Heart, which appears to have been syndicated widely online. Weirdly they didn't share a promo photo of Tom as DI Wagstaffe, but one from the Starfish premiere in 2016. I shouldn't complain, it is just lovely to finally have new interviews to enjoy. A version of the interview can be found on Yahoo.
Tom Riley has said everyone involved in his new police drama Dark Heart had to work extra hard to make it stand out because the calibre of television is so strong nowadays. The programme is returning for a full six-part series on ITV, after a pilot on ITV Encore in 2016.
Riley plays DI Will Wagstaffe, a man haunted by the murder of his parents, while Charlotte Riley plays his sister and Miranda Raison stars as his girlfriend. He said: “There are a lot of procedural dramas already so you want to stand out.
“But not just for the show. We wanted to stand out for ourselves. We wanted to make something that excited us. That felt vital, fresh and new.
“We’ve all been fighting and working hard to make it very character-driven, very unexpected endings, not necessarily the most satisfying conclusion. It’s messier, like real life is.
“In the age of prestige TV, it’s also very important to make yourself look and feel as expensive, classy and different than the average run-of-the-mill dramas.”
Dark Heart was penned by acclaimed writer Chris Lang and was inspired by characters created by novelist Adam Creed, who has written a series of books featuring Will Wagstaffe.
In the first instalment, Wagstaffe is at London City Airport when his colleague DC Josie Chancellor (Anjli Mohindra) calls him to tell him there has been a gruesome murder. Wagstaffe is confronted by a horrific scene – Ray Collins (Mark Fleischmann), a man in his mid-thirties, has been tied to his own bed, choked and severely mutilated.
Riley said the series focuses on “justice and how we define it”. “It’s also caught up inherently in the character of ‘Staffe’,” he said. “In that there are these shades of grey to morality. “What is right and what is wrong and those that are seeking a particular form of justice – are they right or wrong?”
For those interested in the develpment of Dark Heart from the stand alone episode for ITV Encore in 2016 to the new 6 part ITV series, there is an interesting article on Digital Spy which reveals all. It will be fascinating to see what has changed. I am willing to put money on Wagstaffe saying "just one more thing" in the interrogation room getting cut. There is even mention of a second series!
"I really don't think viewers will see the join," says Lang of the production gap between episodes two and three. "I mean, we sort of hint that there's maybe a year or so between the episodes anyway."
Re-cutting the Dark Heart pilot film into two episodes did mean, though, that Lang and his team were able to make certain tweaks, both in the editing room and by re-shooting certain sequences.
"ITV Encore asked us to be pretty experimental, and to make it noisy, splashy, provocative – because a tiny channel like that is trying to attract attention," Lang explains.
"And then, when it gets picked up as a mainstream 9pm show on ITV, you've got to change certain things, because that [old version] would not work on a mainstream channel."