Most people in the U.S. know Graham Norton as the host of his own titular TV talk show, which is one of the very few British imports BBC America still manages to keep on lock. A few know him as the voice of the U.K.'s Eurovision Grand Final (if you are the type who VPNed the BBC broadcast before it was available on Peacock). However, the Irish-born Norton is also a writer, penning the agony aunt column for The Daily Telegraph for well over a decade, and his debut novel, Holding, about a murder mystery in rural Ireland, won the 2016 Popular Fiction Book of the Year award and was picked up for adaptation by ITV. Now, Acorn TV is bringing it to the U.S. on streaming.
ITV first announced it had officially commissioned Holding to screen in May 2021, with Conleth Hill (Vienna Blood) set to star as the novel's leading detective, the slightly hapless local police officer Sergeant PJ Collins. The series episodes would be penned jointly by Dominic Treadwell-Collins (A Very English Scandal) and Irish writer Karen Cogan (Bad Sisters), with Absolutely Fabulous' Kathy Burke directing all four. Norton, notably, was not on board as a writer or producer, happy to sit back and let ITV do its thing.
The series was filmed in Ireland in the summer of 2021 and debuted on ITV in March 2022. Though there were a few papers that wanted to claim the series was controversial among fans or somehow a flop, critics all agreed the adaptation was "charming," "sweet," and "gentle." The show currently holds a high rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Acorn TV trailer suggests this will be an ultimate comfort watch for Anglophiles and fans of the typical small-town mystery series the U.K. is famous for exporting.
Here's the series logline:
Sergeant PJ Collins is a gentle mountain of a man who hides from people and fills his days with comfort food and half-hearted police work. When the body of long-lost local legend Tommy Burke is discovered, PJ is called to solve a serious crime for the first time in his career and has to connect with the village he has tried hard to avoid. A story of love, secrets, and loss, Holding is a darkly comic tale that shrewdly observes the lives of its characters, each with frailties, complexities, and pasts they’d rather keep hidden. The story is a murder mystery laced with dark comedy and centered around the minutiae of rural Irish life.
Hill is joined by Irish co-stars Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot), Siobhán McSweeney (Derry Girls), Charlene McKenna (Peaky Blinders), Helen Behan (Elizabeth is Missing), and Pauline McLynn (Father Ted). The supporting cast includes Clinton Liberty (Normal People), Amy Conroy (Vikings: Valhalla), Olwen Fouéré (The Crown), Eleanor Tiernan (Bridget & Eamon), Gary Shelford (Belgravia), Lochlann Ó’Meárain (Outlander), Sky Yang (Halo), Demi Issac Oviawe (The School for Good & Evil), Norma Sheahan (Dead Still), and Anne Kent (P.S. I Love You).
Holding will debut with all episodes on Monday, March 6, 2023.