ITV has announced an “outstanding” ensemble cast which includes Andrew Scott, Julia McKenzie, Kelly Adams and Martin Clunes for its new drama The Town.
The drama is the first television series by Laurence Olivier award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett and is being produced by Big Talk.
Following a shocking incident amongst an otherwise normal family, 30 year-old Mark Nicholas (Scott) returns to the town where he grew up.
After ten years away, coming home to Renton is harder than Mark could ever have imagined. He always had a strained relationship with his parents, his grandmother Betty (McKenzie) is now living in his childhood bedroom and he barely knows his teenage sister Jodie.
Mark starts to be drawn back into the life he left behind. Most of his school friends still live in the town but he finds it hard to re-connect with them. Hardest of all is meeting his first love Alice (Charlotte Riley) who stayed behind when he left. They still have strong feelings for each other but Alice is now married with a child.
Mark struggles to decide whether he should stay permanently to be with his family. But a new life is difficult to build in the place you used to call home and it now feels like you barely know it.
Thrust into the complicated lives of his former neighbours once more, it’s not surprising there are awkward moments as Mark becomes reacquainted with his past, including his old friends ‘down the pub’ Lucy (Kelly Adams), Carly (Aisling Bea), and Jeff (Sam Troughton).
Running parallel with Mark’s story is that of local Mayor, alcohol-soaked Len, played by Clunes. With his world falling in around him, Len is struggling to keep his life together. He’s stumbling from one PR disaster to another, but fortunately his right-hand woman is very together and keeps him on the straight and narrow.
Without efficient and organised Shireen (Goldy Notay), Len would have committed career suicide a long time ago. His heart’s in the right place, but Len attracts trouble like a magnet attracts metal.
Interweaving with life in the Nicholas household, is the story of wayward Jodie’s friendship with posh boy Harry (Toby Regbo), Lucy’s complicated love life and friendship with fellow florist Carly, and Betty’s attempts to hold the family together.
As the audience gets to know the community, they’ll also be introduced to the enigmatic Inspector Franks from the local police force whose links to the family are stronger than it first appears. He’s ever present in their lives and will have a lasting influence on what happens to them.
“We’re thrilled to be making our first original drama series for the fantastic team at ITV. At the heart of The Town will be a family struggling to come to terms with change. It’s also our hope to paint a picture of contemporary Britain through the magnifying glass of an ordinary market town,” said Big Talk’s CEO and The Town’s co-executive producer Kenton Allen.
The Town has been commissioned by Drama commissioning team Laura Mackie, Sally Haynes and Victoria Fea.
“Mike Bartlett is a hugely exciting new talent and I’m delighted that ITV has commissioned his first project for television,” said Mackie. “His characters are real and instantly engaging and his dialogue is natural and funny even in the darkest of moments.”
The Town begins filming in High Wycombe from 17 June for six weeks.