Grace - why Brighton-based detective series has been one of the biggest events in TV for years

REVIEW: Dead Tomorrow, ITV – final episode of Grace series two


Oh dear. Sundays really aren’t going to be the same again for quite some while… not until 2023, at least, when Grace will return to our screens.

Tonight’s episode of the Brighton-based detective series ended on the cliff-hanger of all cliff-hangers.

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While being totally complete within itself, Dead Tomorrow in its closing moments beautifully set up series three which – it was confirmed this week – will start filming this August, three more episodes which will be screened next year.

The news that the series has been recommissioned felt absolutely inevitable after the first three episodes dominated Sunday night viewing over successive weeks.

The public response meant that surely it was always going to happen – and will keep on happening for years to come. After all, the 18th book in the series, on which this is based, will be coming out in the autumn. And this was only episode five.

But tonight’s episode will be the one we linger on as we count down to 2023 – comfortably the best episode in the series so far, yet another which hits that perfect balance which is emerging as the series’ hallmark.

We have got a story beautifully told – but we have also got a bunch of characters whose own personal stories deepen and intrigue ever more from one episode to the next.

And tonight’s episode in that respect was a total cracker, concluding with the revelation that a crucial aspect of Roy Grace’s past might not be so firmly in the past as he was starting to think – one hell of a shock given his teasingly developing relationship with pathologist Cleo.

And this after the best yarn so far, a grim and completely gripping dive into the truly cruel and horrific world of organ trafficking, a trade which preys on those at their most vulnerable as it feeds on the lives of those it hideously deems dispensable.

This was the best book so far in the Peter James series when it was first published in 2009; ITV have turned it into the most impressive and the most moving of their TV adaptations to date – the perfect point to abandon as us we wait for the next series to be made.

With series two, we have got to know the characters which the actors have so skilfully made live and breathe.

Richie Campbell gives us a DS Glenn Branson behaving erratically and recklessly as he comes to terms with surviving his near-death experience. It’s a terrific insight into trauma (and believe me, I know).

Zoë Tapper as Cleo Morey is shaping up as the perfect love interest, a woman clearly attracted to Grace but also cautious as she senses all that he is not leaving behind.

But above all, it is John Simm’s series as Roy Grace himself.

Simm superbly inhabits the character we’ve been reading about for the best part of two decades, bringing him vividly to life in a way that doesn’t remotely make us resent the way Simm has now completely displaced the mental image we’ve been harbouring of Roy Grace since 2005.

John Simm is now 100 per cent Grace. It’s as simple as that, brilliant in the part, totally convincing and – through the arrival of Cleo –showing us ever deepening depths to the role.

Roll on August when filming starts for series three; roll on 2023 when it will hit our screens.

Grace feels like one of the biggest events in TV for years – a huge credit to everyone concerned.