ITV commissions four new dramas - Trauma, Girlfriends, White Dragon and Next of Kin

ITV has commissioned four new dramas following the arrival of Head of Drama, Polly Hill, to the broadcaster. 

Trauma by Mike Bartlett, Girlfriends by Kay Mellor, White Dragon by Mark Denton and Jonny Stockwood and Next of Kin by Paul Rutman and Natasha Narayan will each begin filming in 2017. 

Commented Polly Hill: “I'm delighted to have commissioned four outstanding new dramas for ITV.  All four are authored contemporary pieces, from wonderful writers who have a compelling story to tell.  I think audiences are looking for drama with real authorship, and I am delighted that I start at ITV with a mix of great experience and new voices. It's a great time to be leading ITV drama and this is just the start of what I hope will be an exciting journey for us and the audience.” 


Multi awarding winning playwright and dramatist Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster, The Town, Charles III) returns to ITV with his new project, Trauma.  

Set in the Trauma department of a central London hospital, the three-part drama tells the story of 15 year old Alex Reynolds who sadly dies under the care of high-achieving trauma consultant Jon Stephens.  

Devastated and heartbroken, Alex's father, Dan, believes Jon is responsible for Alex’s death and as he strives for justice, he begins to unpick the very fabric of Jon's life. Are Dan’s concerns about how Jon cared for his son in his hour of need justified or are his actions borne of overpowering grief?  Trauma questions what makes a man good and explores the idea that sometimes the very institutions established to protect us can let us down. 

"I feel hugely lucky to be writing a brand new series for ITV,” said Mike Bartlett.  “Trauma is a story about two fathers with very different lives, locked in conflict. I hope the series will be moving, terrifying and timely...If we increasingly mistrust institutions and experts, what happens when we desperately need them?" 

Trauma is produced by Tall Story Pictures, the newly created ITV Studios label founded by Creative Director Francis Hopkinson and Executive Producer Catherine Oldfield. Francis will executive produce the new series with Catherine, who has developed Trauma with Mike Bartlett, producing the drama. ITV Studios GE is responsible for international distribution.  

“We are delighted to be launching Tall Story Pictures with Trauma,” said Catherine. “Not only is Trauma a rollercoaster of a story but Mike's fantastic script goes deep into the heart of what it takes to be a good man in Britain today.” 

Trauma will begin filming in early summer 2017 in the London area. 


Take three women each dealing with major life crises and six part series Girlfriends is born. Written and created by acclaimed television writer Kay Mellor (In the Club, The Syndicate, Fat Friends), Girlfriends focuses on Linda, Sue and Gail, each pushing 60 and struggling to cope with what life has to throw at them.  

Whilst enjoying a celebratory anniversary cruise, Linda’s husband Micky disappears from their cabin. He’s been hitting the booze hard at the Captain’s table and when he heads back to his cabin on the pretext of finding his glasses Micky is nowhere to be seen.  With the balcony door open, an overturned chair and the curtain billowing aimlessly in the wind, has Micky committed suicide? Or has he accidentally toppled into the sea having consumed one too many cocktails? 

Sue is still a fine looking woman.  She’s never married but has spent the last 30 years in an affair with bridal magazine editor, John, who is also the father of her lawyer son, Andrew.  What happens when John takes a shine to younger model Stacey and wants to promote her into Sue’s job as Features Editor? In spite of her wealth of editorial experience and extensive contacts, will Stacey usurp Sue?  How can Sue retain her professionalism, her dignity and the respect she so richly deserves when John is trying to force her out?  She’s given the best years of her life to John and with her significant birthday looming will Sue be able to dig her killer heels in at Adorable magazine? 

Gail, on the other hand, has received her decree nisi from second husband Dave.  She has six weeks and a day to win him back before the divorce becomes absolute, but can Gail switch focus from wayward son Tom and grandson Ben to concentrate on saving her marriage? Particularly as Tom is newly released from prison, tagged, and needs her help getting his life back on track. Girlfriends will explore the importance of friendship in all our lives and how no matter what life throws at you friends will help you through.   

The six part series will be produced by Kay Mellor’s production company Rollem Productions and will be filmed in Leeds, York and Harrogate.  Filming is due to commence during the summer of 2017. Kay Mellor will direct the series with Yvonne Francas producing.  

“I’m delighted that after a long time away I’m once again working for ITV. I love working with Polly Hill; you always feel like you’re her number one writer and she gives you and your project 100% of her attention,” said Kay. 

“Girlfriends is a topic that’s dear to my heart being a woman of a certain age. I did a conference recently where there were a lot of women saying that they felt invisible, both in life and on screen. There was nothing on television that they could relate to; older women were playing characters that were mothers or grandmothers of the main protagonists. So I wanted to change things around a bit and put them centre stage - to make the invisible, visible. Linda, Sue and Gail are in the autumn of their lives and in many ways their lives should be sorted, but instead each year brings another set of problems. There are plenty of secrets, lies and revelations that send shockwaves through their friendship – it’s a delicious drama to write and I hope the audience enjoy watching it as much as I’m enjoying writing it.”  

White Dragon 

Ambitious and timely conspiracy thriller White Dragon, written by screenwriting newcomers Mark Denton and Jonny Stockwood, has been commissioned for ITV from Two Brothers Pictures, the drama indie established by award winning writers and producers, Harry and Jack Williams (The Missing, Fleabag, One of Us).  The eight part series will be filmed during the autumn of 2017 on location in Asia.  

Professor Jonah Mulray’s life is turned upside-down when his wife, Megan, is killed in a car-crash in Hong Kong. Although she lived and worked there half the year, Jonah’s never been. He lives a small, sheltered life, and his fear of flying has kept him in London. But now he has no choice but to cross the ocean to identify the body of the woman he loved. 

Not long after arriving in Hong Kong, Jonah makes a shocking discovery about his wife. Over the course of eight thrilling hours, Jonah is drawn deeper and deeper into a web of conspiracy as he comes to terms with this utterly alien and unfamiliar environment, battling to uncover the truth about his wife’s death. 

Commented Harry and Jack Williams: “We’re delighted to be bringing Mark and Jonny’s incredible debut series to life. Their writing is rich and intelligent and combines a narratively taut thriller with a characterful emotional journey that we hope will draw audiences in.”   

Writers Mark Denton and Jonny Stockwood added: "We are thrilled to be working with Two Brothers and ITV on this exciting new drama - we hope it will keep audiences gripped.”  

Next of Kin 

Gripping contemporary family thriller Next of Kin will be produced by leading drama independent Mammoth Screen. The six-part series is written and created by husband and wife team Paul Rutman (Indian Summers, Vera) and Natasha Narayan

Whip-smart psychologist Mona Mirza lives a charmed life at the heart of a loving family living in London. But she is left grief-stricken when her much-loved brother is brutally murdered whilst working for a medical charity overseas. As the death brings buried family secrets to light, Mona is drawn deep into a tangle of betrayal, conspiracy and murder. One way or another, she must find a way of protecting herself, her family and her career as they are all put at risk...  

The series will be executive produced by Mammoth Screen’s Preethi Mavahalli (Tripped, NW) and MD Damien Timmer. Casting and key production roles will be confirmed in the coming weeks. 

"We are thrilled to be involved in this first collaboration between Paul and Natasha; they make a formidable writing team,” said Preethi Mavahalli. “With clever storytelling that will have viewers hooked, this ambitious contemporary thriller will be one not to be missed.”  

October 14, 2016 5:06am ET by ITV Press Centre  

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