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Friday 14 June 2024

Production Begins on the Second Series of ITV’s Acclaimed Drama "Karen Pirie"

Image: ITV Press

By Jon Donnis

ITV, ITVX, STV, and STV Player have announced the commencement of filming for the highly-anticipated second series of the critically acclaimed drama "Karen Pirie." Produced by the award-winning World Productions, known for hits like "The Pembrokeshire Murders," "Line of Duty," and "Malpractice," the new series promises to deliver another captivating cold-case investigation.

Adapted by Emer Kenny from Val McDermid's novel "A Darker Domain," the three-episode series will continue to follow the fearless young Scottish investigator Karen Pirie, portrayed by BAFTA Scotland award-winning actress Lauren Lyle. Lyle, who earned both Best Actress Television and the Audience Award for Favourite Scot on Screen for her performance in the first series, will once again take on the lead role.

Returning alongside Lyle are Chris Jenks as DC Jason 'Mint' Murray, Zach Wyatt as DS Phil Parhatka, Steve John Shepherd as DCS Lees, Emer Kenny as River Wilde, and Rakhee Thakrar as Bel Richmond. The team will delve into the 1984 kidnapping of heiress Catriona Grant and her baby son, a case that stumped investigators and left Scotland in suspense.

Newcomers to the series include Saskia Ashdown as DC Isla Stark, James Cosmo and Frances Tomelty as Catriona's parents, oil magnate Sir Broderick Grant and his ex-wife Mary, and John Michie as Fergus Sinclair, the father of Cat's son Adam. The past timeline of 1984 will feature Julia Brown as Catriona Grant, with Mark Rowley, Kat Ronney, Conor Berry, Stuart Campbell, Jamie Michie, Madeleine Worrall, and Jack Stewart portraying key figures from the original investigation.

Set against the backdrop of 1984's politically charged environment, the kidnapping of Catriona Grant and her son Adam was presumed to have political motivations. Despite a massive investigation and media frenzy, the case went cold when the culprits vanished without a trace. Decades later, Karen Pirie is tasked with reopening the case when new evidence emerges, leading her into a web of secrecy and danger as she seeks to uncover what truly happened to Catriona and her son.

Simon Heath, CEO and Executive Producer at World Productions, expressed his excitement about the series' return: "I've never been asked so often about when a character is returning to our screens. Well, Karen is back again – as whip-smart as ever with an intriguing new cold case from the 1980s. Drawn from Val's terrific novel, Emer's tremendous scripts have attracted an exciting new guest cast to join our established names. I can't wait for everyone to see the finished show."

Emer Kenny, the series' writer and executive producer, shared her personal connection to the character: "I've never related to a character more than Karen Pirie. When she's laughing, I'm laughing. When she's stressed, I'm stressed. When she turns to drink… well, you get the idea. So I'm delighted to be bringing her back to your screens, now a Detective Inspector with more power, more confidence, and some of the same iconic sweater vests. We have a dazzling cast, a heroic crew, and epic plot twists. If Karen Pirie isn't already your favourite detective, I promise she will be soon."

Huw Kennair-Jones, ITV's Drama Commissioner, praised the returning series: "After the well-deserved success of the first series, it's great filming has started again on Karen Pirie and that we're returning to the brilliant characters and world Emer has created. And with a stellar cast led by the BAFTA Scotland-winning Lauren Lyle and produced by the always excellent World Productions, the second series promises to deliver a gripping story that'll keep the ITV and ITVX audiences guessing until the very end. We can't wait for it to hit the screens."

The first series of "Karen Pirie" launched to an audience of 6.6 million viewers, averaging 5.9 million per episode, and was one of the most-watched new dramas on ITV in 2022. It received accolades such as Best Drama Series at the Celtic Media Festival and rave reviews from major publications.

The second series of "Karen Pirie" will air on ITV1 and be available for streaming on ITVX, with World Productions' Simon Heath and Emma Luffingham, along with Emer Kenny and Val McDermid, serving as executive producers. The series is directed by Gareth Bryn and Amanda Blue, with Marcus Wilson producing.

Filming is currently underway in Scotland and will also take place in Malta, promising viewers another thrilling investigation led by one of television's most compelling detectives.

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