The Sister creator on real-life inspiration behind ITV drama: “I’ve experienced a haunting”

Neil Cross (Luther) also spoke about a dark dream he experienced as a youth.

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The Sister

Luther creator Neil Cross has revealed the spooky real-life events that helped inspire his upcoming project, ITV drama series The Sister – including a murderous dream, and a supernatural experience.

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The four-part series, starring Russell Tovey (Years and Years), follows Nathan, a man with a dangerous secret regarding his wife’s late sister – a secret that he is desperate to conceal. The series promises to as dark as one would expect from the creator of Luther – with the addition of ghosts…

Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press, Cross stated that he himself had “absolutely experienced a haunting”.

“In the spirit of the duality of the show, I’m a rationalist, I’m a materialist… I don’t believe in life after death, and at the same time I’ve absolutely experienced a haunting,” he said. “I can’t begin to explain what happened. I know what I don’t believe, but I also know what happened. And it’s quite a detailed story and I can’t go into it, but yeah I’ve experienced not just one thing but a haunted house.”

The show is based on Cross’ book, Burial, which in turn was inspired by a nightmare Cross had in 1985 about murdering a homeless man.

He said: “I wanna say even now I hope I dreamt it. I’m pretty sure [it was a dream] – I was very young, 16 or 17, and I was out of my head on rough cider in Bristol – we used to drink rough cider in gallon containers, because it was 32 pence per pint. And I was making my way back to my sister’s house, and there was a short cut… through the woods, through these concrete steps through the woods. And I just woke up the next morning not with any sense that I’d had a dream, of any description, I woke up with a very, very clear memory of coming across a homeless man asleep on the steps who I randomly stabbed to death.”

Cross explained that the dream had felt so vivid that he had initially feared the stabbing had really occurred.

“I woke up the next morning, and there was no sense of it being a dream… There was no blood on me I have to say. I did carry a knife in those days, but there was no blood on the knife, there was no blood on my clothes, there was no blood anywhere, but I still was looking out for the police, I was scanning the news, I was absolutely certain that I remembered randomly killing this man, and in fact for years and years and years I genuinely found it difficult to talk about.

He continued: “When the internet was invented one of the first things I did… was search the old newspapers [from 1985]. But I didn’t do it [the murder], if anyone’s wondering.”

You can order Neil Cross’ Burial from Amazon. The Sister will air on ITV from 26th October. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide.

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Luther is available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and iPlayer. You can also purchase series 1 to 5 on DVD and Blu-ray.