The next instalment of the television adaptation of the Brighton-based detective saga, Grace, airs next weekend. Screen and Film School Brighton were fortunate enough to be invited to the press screening in London last month, following a successful collaboration where ten of our graduates managed to land work on the Sussex-based production last year.
We recently caught up with the man himself, Peter James, to discuss his excitement at the long-awaited depiction of his most famous creation, Roy Grace. The new feature-length episode, ‘Looking Good Dead,’ will premiere on Sunday 24th April 2022 at 8pm and is a follow up to the hugely successful first episode which was released on Sunday 14th March 2021. As we found out, it was well worth the wait…
The exciting new episode ‘Looking Good Dead,’ picks back up with Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, who jumps straight in the action to solve a chilling new case, featuring a string of gruesome murders. At the press screening we were excited to see a showcase of Brighton locations featured in the episode and there were plenty of familiar spots from all over the city featured throughout. Peter James has previously spoken about how our seaside city helps to inform his writing:
“For me, the defining image of Brighton and Hove has always been one that shifts with the moods of the sea. One day, the roiling, angry, storm waves bursting over the walls of the Rottingdean undercliff walk, and the Hove promenade railings, beneath a matching dark sky, shrouding the entire facade of the city, from Kemp Town to Shoreham, with brooding menace, taking us back to the criminal undertow that has been part of this city’s beating heart for a century and a half. A city where nothing bad could happen on a day like this, could it? We like to delude ourselves…”
Following the screening, we attended an exclusive Q&A with a panel that featured key players such as Jon Simm, Richie Campbell and Zoë Tapper, as well an appearance from Peter James himself, and exec-producer Patrick Schweitze. The session explored the process of making this high-end TV drama, and the way the cast members approached dealing with traumatic scenes. All of this was supported by intelligent insight from Peter.
Zoë Fitzpatrick, a Screen and Film School Brighton graduate who attended the screening had this to say about the day:
“It’s so great to see a production worked on by my fellow graduates up on the big screen, and an exciting opportunity to see a preview of what’s to come in this new feature-length episode. As well as the Q&A, which revealed a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the filming process, with thoughts from the main cast and crew.”
That was back in March; fast forward to the present day and with just over a week to go until the episode is aired and the tension is broken, we spoke to the creator of the Grace series of books and a friend of the Film School. Peter talked us through the process behind finally giving the green light for the adaptation of his popular protagonist and bringing it to life in Brighton:
“So much about the adaptation of my Roy Grace novels for the Grace series has thrilled me, it is hard to know where to begin! For years I held back from allowing anyone to go ahead, preferring Roy Grace never came to the screen rather than being adapted badly. But finally, I managed to get my dream team. If you asked me to create an identikit for Roy Grace when I first began writing him, back in 2003, it would have been John Simm. And ditto Glenn Branson. What I also love about these two actors, it is not just that they are brilliantly cast, crucially they get on so well together both on and off set, with that elusive magical chemistry that can make or break not only an on-screen relationship but the entire production. They really like each other and that burns through the screen.
I’m also thrilled that Russell Lewis has kept so faithfully to my original novels, discussing and agreeing with all changes with me, and there were a number of them needed to bring the adaptations bang up to date. Andrew O’Connor, Kiaran Murray-Smith and the entire team at ITV are wonderful to work with, and I was just thrilled with the viewing figures of almost 9 million for the first episode. Now keeping everything crossed for the next four, coming to our screens imminently!”
Everyone at Screen and Film School are keeping their fingers crossed too, Peter. It is fascinating and inspiring for our young filmmakers to have such a high-end, popular production such at this on our doorsteps here on the south coast. That our own students secured work on the set shows a clear path to industry, which is something which drives us all to be successful in our creative endeavors.
We’ll be tuning in to watch the public premiere of ‘Looking Good Dead’ next weekend; having had an exclusive viewing, we can guarantee it will prove to be a success.