Sherwood – Cast & Creator talk about the BBC’s new thriller

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The show tells the real-life story of two brutal killings in a former mining town. 

Ahead of its premiere, the cast and creatives of Sherwood have started talking about the upcoming drama. Set in a former mining town, already riven by long-standing divisions, the story follows the investigation of two brutal murders.

Here’s the premise for Sherwood:

“Inspired in part by real events, set in a Nottinghamshire mining village at the heart of Sherwood lie two shocking and unexpected killings that shatter an already fractured community and spark a massive manhunt.

As suspicion and antipathy build – both between lifelong neighbours and towards the police forces who descend on the town – the tragic killings threaten to inflame historic divisions sparked during the miners’ strike three decades before.

Ian St Clair (David Morrissey), Julie Jackson (Leslie Manville) and Kevin Salisbury (Robert Glenister) starring in BBC One drama Sherwood

Sherwood is at once a compelling, contemporary crime drama that explores for the first time the controversial deployment of so-called ‘spycops’ around Britain, and a distinctly human story of a community forced to re-examine the terrible events of decades ago, for which it still bears the scars.”

The show has a stellar cast, led by David Morrissey, which includes Joanne Froggatt, Robert Glenister, Alun Armstrong, Lesley Manville, Adeel Akhtar, Claire Rushbrook, Kevin Doyle, Lorraine Ashbourne, Phillip Jackson, Perry Fitzpatrick, Adam Hugill and Stephen Tompkinson.

Writer James Graham:

The show’s writer, who also penned Quiz, Coalition and Brexit: The Uncivil War, feels that the series defies genre classification:

“I think I’m impossibly relaxed about it not quite fitting neatly into any one genre. I really think that’s one of the strengths of the show and what hopefully makes it compelling.

Sherwood is essentially a six-part thriller, but it’s hugely personal to me and inspired in part by real events in my hometown in Nottinghamshire. It is a contemporary drama and at its heart are two devastating killings which spark a massive manhunt and shatter a community that is already fractured after the divisive effect of the miners’ strike 40 years before.

Sherwood writer James Graham

As we explore that we also examine the impact of so-called Spy Cops, as there have been reports and speculation – and there is currently an investigation into the practices of undercover policing surrounding this – that they had been deployed undercover into mining communities like Nottingham.”

David Morrissey plays Detective Chief Superintendent Ian St Clair:

“I play a high-ranking police officer in Nottingham. When we meet him he’s being honoured for tackling street crime and gang violence in the city, so he’s successful. His path is in the right place. I guess you could describe him as a pillar of the community.

He then very quickly has to investigate a brutal killing. Someone who he knows from his past, who is killed on the streets he grew up in. He has to go back to his childhood area to investigate this terrible death of a man he knows and that puts him back into a community and a place in time and history that was very complicated for the community, and very complicated for him personally. He has to confront many demons, not just demons that are being played out amongst everybody else, but amongst himself as well, inside of himself. So, he’s the law, but he’s also someone who is trying to hold on to a moral centre.”

Robert Glenister, who plays Detective Inspector Kevin Salisbury, talks about working on James Graham’s script: 

What I love about James is that he’s not there on set every day. Writers tend not to be on telly anyway, but if you’ve got any ideas, if you’ve got things that you’re not quite sure about he is so accessible. You say to either James or (director) Lewis Arnold, “Look, I’m not sure about this” or “I’m finding this a bit difficult” – he will listen and he will do something about it.

Not all writers are like that, some are very dogged, that’s fair enough as well. James is really, really great at listening and encouraging and I think he’s just a man of great integrity and a writer of great integrity.

There is no hesitation about approaching him because you know he’s a listener and I think he’s a fabulous writer, I think that he writes beautifully. The interweaving of all the different elements in Sherwood and to write for an ensemble cast of that size and give everybody a pretty decent crack of the whip, that takes a lot of skill.”

Here’s the trailer for Sherwood:

“Can you think of anyone. Were there any ongoing disputes?”

James Graham has written all six parts of Sherwood and executive produces too. Lewis Arnold (Time, Des) is lead director and executive producer, and the producer is Rebecca Hodgson. Juliette Howell, Tessa Ross and Harriet Spencer are executive producers for House Productions. Ben Irving is executive producer for BBC.

Sherwood is a six-part series. It begins on BBC One and iPlayer at 9pm on Monday, June the 13th, with part two on Tuesday 14th.

The show keeps that Monday/Tuesday pattern across the subsequent two weeks, concluding on Tuesday, the 28th of June.