ITV’s first Merrily Watkins serial could be screened as early as Autumn 2015. Here’s what they say:

ITV has commissioned a three part drama for ITV Encore*, to be adapted by BAFTA-winning screenwriter Stephen Volk (Afterlife, The Awakening, Ghostwatch) for ITV Studios.

Midwinter of the Spirit will be produced by Phil Collinson (Doctor Who, Coronation Street, Sea of Souls) and executive produced by Creative Director, ITV Studios in Manchester Kieran Roberts (The Trials of Jimmy Rose, Blue Murder, Coronation Street).

Kieran said: “We’re very excited to be working with Stephen Volk to bring Phil Rickman’s gripping and chilling novel to the screen. We’re also thrilled to be making one of the first original commissions for ITV Encore.” 

The drama has been commissioned for transmission on ITV Encore by ITV’s Director of Drama Commissioning Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea.

“Midwinter of the Spirit is a contemporary and edgy drama which draws upon dark, pagan forces which are intriguing and spiritually frightening,” said Steve. “We’re delighted to commission three episodes of a potentially returnable crime drama with a supernatural twist.”

Filming will begin in the Hereford area in April 2015.

*ITV Encore is a collaboration with Sky TV, presenting the very best of ITV Drama – 

similar to Home Box Office in the USA. The big-budget Midwinter will be one of the first original productions to be screened on Encore. If you have Sky you’ll be able to watch it at no extra cost. If you haven’t, it’s likely to turn up on terrestrial ITV in due course. 

Casting will begin soon. They won’t need any help.