‘Doctor Thorne’s’ Stefanie Martini Cast as Young Jane Tennison in ‘Prime Suspect’ Sequel

Stefanie Martini in "Doctor Thorne", in what what we must assume is a far crime from her "Tennison" gear. (Photo: ITV)

A prequel to popular crime drama Prime Suspect is in the works at ITV, and has already found its young Jane Tennison. Called simply Tennison, this drama follows on the heels of the success of the network’s popular Endeavour series, which tells the story of the early life of the lead character in the popular Inspector Morse series, and has already been greenlit for a fourth season. Prequels are apparently really all the rage these days, it would seem. 

Stefanie Martini has been tapped to play Jane Tennison’s younger self, stepping in to the shoes of Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren, who originated the role in 1991, and continued making Prime Suspect episodes off and on until 2006.

Martini most recently starred in Julian Fellowespost-Downton Abbey period drama Doctor Thorne, in she played the young woman from rather unfortunate financial circumstances who lives with her uncle (the titular Doctor Thorne) and falls in love with son from the rather rich aristocratic family next door. The rest of the cast features Sam Reid and Blake Harrison as Jane’s superiors, DCI Len Bradfield and DS Spencer Gibbs, with veteran actor Alun Armstrong as the head of a local crime family.

The six-part prequel series is being written by Prime Suspect Creator Lynda La Plante, and will reveal how Tennison became such a complex and formidable character in the Metropolitan police.

Set in 1970s Hackney, it will see Tennison start as a WPC on the beat before being thrown into a brutal murder enquiry. Viewers will also meet her family and gain an insight into her personal life before her time as a detective in Prime Suspect.

Filming on the new prequel series is already under way.

There’s no set air date yet for Tennison, but since Prime Suspect is about to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its premiere toward the end of this year, around that window of time seems like a pretty safe guess.

Does Tennison sound like something you’d watch? How do you feel about the prospect of a Prime Suspect prequel? (After all, Endeavour did turn out pretty well!) Let us know in the comments. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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