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As of October 2021, Ann Cleeves will be one of the first authors (if not THE first) to see three of her own detective franchises as current TV shows. The first part of Series 11 of Vera premiered in August/September, Series 6 of Shetland premiered in October/November of 2021, and now, The Long Call has finally made its way to our screens.
What's The Long Call About?
The Long Call follows Detective Matthew Venn, a troubled gay detective who's recently returned to live in North Devon with his husband Jonathan. Unlike the more brash, confident detectives, Venn is a man scarred by religious extremism, with hefty doses of anger and self-doubt.
Though North Devon holds plenty of painful memories, he also sees it as a way forward. Of course, if his dark past had taken place in some dreary, economically-deprived northern city, he might have been more inclined to simply move to a new area. Not many places in the world can compete with the beauty of coastal Devon.
In the beginning, we see Matthew at his father's funeral, but he hangs at the back since he's been ejected from the religious community his father was a part of. At the same time, he's also investigating a crime in the area. A body has been found on the beach, the victim of a stabbing. The only major clue is the albatross tattoo on his neck.
Watch the Trailer for The Long Call
BritBox recently released the trailer, and you can check it out below:
Who's in the Cast for The Long Call?
Fleabag's Ben Aldrich stars as DI Venn, and Pearl Mackie (Doctor Who) plays young mum DS Jen Rafferty. Riveria's Juliet Stevenson plays Matthew's mother Dorothy, and Inspector George Gently's Martin Shaw plays the leader of the religious extremist group.
Anita Dobson, Neil Morrissey, Dylan Edwards, Sarah Gordy, Amit Shah and Alan Williams also appear in the series.
In an official statement about the production, Ben Aldrich said:
I’m delighted to be playing Matthew Venn, a brilliantly unorthodox detective who audiences will see solving a gripping and intricate case, whilst simultaneously surmounting a deeper, more personal mystery within himself. It’s a poignant and complex journey of self-discovery and sexual and religious identity, which navigates the tension between pride and shame, and I feel privileged to be bringing it to ITV viewers in The Long Call.
Silverprint Pictures' Kate Bartlett is executive producing, while Angie Daniell (Vera) is the producer. Lee Haven Jones (Shetland) is directing, and ITV Studios will distribute The Long Call internationally.
When Does The Long Call Premiere & Where Can I Watch It?
The four-part Series 1 aired on ITV from October 25th through October 28th in the UK.
In the US, the series will premiere on BritBox on October 28th.
Read The Two Rivers Books
To date, there are two books in Two Rivers series. Given the success of the first two, it seems likely we'll see more in the future.
Keep in mind that the books and TV series depart a bit on the physical descriptions of the characters – Jen has been turned from a fiery ginger in the book to a mixed-race woman on TV, and Venn was aged down a bit for the TV version. If that sort of inconsistency bothers you (as it did for many who watched and read Agatha Raisin), we recommend picking either book or TV and going with it.
- The Long Call – In the first entry into the series, Detective Matthew Venn attends the funeral of his estranged father, standing outside because he's been shunned by his evangelical family. Before he can leave, he receives a call from his team saying a man with an albatross tattoo on his neck has been found dead on the beach nearby. The case drags him back into a life he thought he'd left behind.
- The Heron's Cry – In this book, it's the middle of an abnormally warm summer in North Devon, and Detective Matthew Venn has been called out to an elaborately staged murder at the home of a group of artists. The murder victim seems an unlikely target, and Venn is unsettled to find out that the victim's daughter is a friend of his own husband, Jonathan.
Will You Be Watching The Long Call?
Does The Long Call sound like your kind of series? Will you be tuning in for the premiere on BritBox (or the continued episodes on ITV, if you're in the UK)?
After founding I Heart British TV in 2016 as a resource for her granny, Stefanie has grown I Heart British TV into a resource that serves millions of British TV fans every year. When not writing posts or editing contributions to the site, you can probably find her working on the latest print edition of the British TV Streaming Guide.