For Line of Duty fans who need more Adrian Dunbar in their lives, the announcement that he would star in a new ITV detective series, Ridley, was welcome news. But it wasn't clear if the show would cross the pond or where it would end up. BritBox seemed a likely spot, as it has all of Line Of Duty, and its parent company is ITV. But it turns out fans have lucked out, as Ridley is not going to be a streaming service exclusive at all but is instead coming to broadcast. Deadline reports that PBS Distribution has picked up the rights to the forthcoming series.
The new mystery is spearheaded by Paul Matthew Thompson, whose other brainchildren include Vera, Shakespeare & Hathaway, and Father Brown, with co-creator Jonathan Fisher (Hollington Drive). The series is built around Dunbar's popularity as a righteous force in Line of Duty, which here will translate to a character named Detective Inspector Alex Ridley, whose retirement is cut short as he is pressed back into service as a private detecting consultant by his former protégée, Acting DI Carol Farman. Farman will be played by Bronagh Waugh (The Fall). Though the logline currently makes the series appear to be a single case arc per season series, the plan is likely for the two actors to be our newest detective duo.
Thompson and Fisher were inspired to create Ridley after reading about real-life retired detectives who have found themselves re-joining police forces in a consultancy role in recent years, given increasingly over-stretched resources. According to ITV, the plan is for the series to "explore thought-provoking crime stories in an original and distinctive way" by focusing on that angle. Filming for Ridley began in January 2022 and only just wrapped last week, with various locations in Northern England as the series' backdrop.
Here's ITV's synopsis:
The series will introduce us to charismatic Detective Inspector Alex Ridley, who is retiring from the police after years of dedicated service. Ridley’s replacement is DI Carol Farman, his former protégée whom Ridley mentored for many years. When he's enlisted by Carol as a police consultant on a complex and compelling murder case, the investigation takes a dark and unexpected turn. Turning to her old mentor for support, Carol is keen to access Ridley’s unique insight into crime-solving, which has served them so well in the past. With more intriguing cases to solve, Ridley will revive his formidable and successful partnership with Carol.
Dunbar and Waugh are joined by a core cast of Terence Maynard (Time) as DCI Paul Goodwin, George Bukhari (Years & Years) as DC Darren Lakhan, and Georgie Glen (Call the Midwife) as pathologist Dr. Wendy Newstone. The show's other co-stars include Bhavna Limbachia (Citizen Khan), Aidan McArdle (The Trial of Christine Keeler), and Julie Graham (Shetland). Thompson will write three of the four feature-length episodes, with Julia Gilbert (Agatha Raisin) taking the other one. Directing duties will be split between Bryn Higgins (Endeavour), Noreen Kershaw (Call the Midwife), and Paul Gay (Vera).
Viewers should note that PBS is spearheading this, not Masterpiece, which means Ridley won't be a Sunday at 9 p.m. ET series like Grantchester or Endeavour. Instead, it will most likely wind up as part of the Sunday night lineup surrounding a Masterpiece anchor, like Call The Midwife and Vienna Blood do. That also suggests that though the U.K. version is planned as four feature-length stories, U.S. viewers are likely to wind up with eight 45-minute installments when it does show up on this side of the pond.
Ridley does not have a release date yet, but fans can probably expect it to turn up on ITV in late 2022 or early 2023 and follow on PBS 6-12 months later.