Anna Maxwell Martin and David Threlfall cast in exorcism drama

Midwinter of the Spirit will be one of the first original series for ITV Encore

In the wake of Father Brown and Grantchester, Bafta Award-winning actress Anna Maxwell Martin is joining the recent influx of crime-fighting vicars – but this time with an occult twist.


The Bletchley Circle star will lead ITV Encore’s Midwinter of the Spirit as Merrily Watkins, a country vicar whose dabbles in exorcism and the supernatural lead her to assist the police in their investigation into a grisly murder.

While dealing with a rebellious daughter and the death of her unfaithful husband, Watkins suspects a connection between a man crucified to death and a chronically ill, hospital-bound animal abuser, soon joining two detectives as they uncover a dark and dangerous world.

Acting alongside Maxwell Martin will be Shameless’ David Threlfall (most recently seen in this week’s Code of a Killer with John Simm) as her mentor Huw Owen, with Siobhan Finneran, Ben Bailey Smith, Kate Dickie, Leila Mimmack, Simon Trinder, Pengus MacNamara and David Sterne also among the cast.

The three-part drama will begin filming in Hereford later this month and is based on the series of books written by Phil Rickman, with Bafta award-winning screenwriter Stephen Volk on board to pen the adaptation.

“Midwinter of the Spirit is a contemporary and edgy drama which draws upon dark, pagan forces which are intriguing and spiritually frightening,” said ITV’s director of drama commissioning, Steve November.


Series producer Kieran Roberts added: “We’re very excited to be going into production on Midwinter of the Spirit, especially with such an amazing cast. We’re also thrilled that Stephen Volk’s superb adaptation of Phil Rickman’s gripping and chilling novel is one of the first original commissions for ITV Encore.”