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Image / Living / Culture

Filming has begun on the TV adaptation of Graham Norton’s debut novel down in West Cork


by Sarah Finnan
30th Jul 2021

ITV Press Centre / Twitter

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ITV confirmed that Graham Norton’s debut novel ‘Holding’ will be made into a four-part series for the channel with filming getting underway down in West Cork just this week.

Filming for the TV adaptation of Graham Norton’s novel Holding has officially gotten underway down in West Cork this week with producers also revealing just who they have lined up to star in the exciting new project. 

Confirming that Norton’s novel would be made into a four-part series for ITV earlier this year, the Sunday Times best-seller – which was published back in 2016 – marks Norton’s first full-length foray into the fiction world. A “darkly comic” novel, the action takes place in the small insular village of Duneen where the discovery of human remains sends ripples of unease through the local community. 

Sergeant PJ Collins, a “gentle mountain of a man who hides from people and fills his days with comfort food and half-hearted police work”, suddenly finds himself called to arms – facing the unenviable task of solving the first serious crime of his career and discerning what exactly happened to local legend Tommy Burke. 

Placed in the very capable hands of Kathy Burke as director, plenty of top Irish talent has been associated with the project so far including the likes of Oscar-winner Brenda Fricker and Derry Girls star Siobhán McSweeney amongst others. 

Previously asked how she feels to be making her long-awaited TV return, Fricker admitted that she was “ecstatic to be part of this wonderful production, in beautiful Skibbereen”… later joking that she was very happy “finally not to be playing a mother!” Probably best known for her part in the movie My Left Foot (for which she won an Academy Award), the actress’s latest role will see her play Lizzie Meany – who is a “bit of a dark horse” according to Fricker. Described as a “shy presence in PJ’s life”, she’s been battling her own demons and secrets too… as PJ later comes to discover. 

“She has had a dreadful life but has retained her values, her friendships and most of all her sense of humour,” Fricker said of her character, advising viewers to “keep a sharp eye on her”.

Meanwhile, Cork native McSweeney will take on the character of the vulnerable but messy Bríd Riordan. Due to Marry Tommy before his ill-timed disappearance, she’s not above suspicion. As excited to be involved in the project as her co-stars, McSweeney had high praise for the series, saying, “I cannot think of a better script in a better place with a better cast and crew.” As for what it’s like to be back in Cork? In a word – heaven. 

The cast also includes Conleth Hill, Helen Behan, Amy Conroy, Olwen Fouéré, Norma Sheahan, Pauline McLynn, comedian Michael Fry, Demi Isaac Oviawe, Eleanor Tiernan and Peaky Blinders actress Charlene McKenna. 

No release date has been announced for Holding as of yet, but it’s unlikely to be before the end of the year so don’t get too excited just yet. 

Ireland definitely seems the place to be for the Hollywood elite these days though as not only is Olivia Colman filming down in Kerry for her new movie Joyride, but it’s also been rumoured that Taylor Swift was in Donegal recently too. 

Most likely here on a visit with boyfriend Joe Alwyn, he’s set to star in the upcoming TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends which got underway in Belfast earlier this year.

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