When is BBC thriller Vigil on TV? Who is in the cast? What’s it about?

Everything you need to know about the new star-studded drama from the producers of Line of Duty

Suranne Jones - Shaun Evans

BBC One has assembled a killer cast for a brand new thriller from the producers of Line of Duty – and it’s safe to say it looks like one to watch.


Vigil, which is written by BAFTA-nominated writer Tom Edge (Judy, The Crown) has been described by the corporation’s controller of drama, Piers Wenger, as “a fantastic, adrenalised thriller” which is set against the backdrop of Scotland’s nuclear deterrent.

And after a pause to production caused by the coronavirus pandemic, filming is back underway – with a first look image having recently been shared.

Intrigued? Read on for everything you need to know.

When is Vigil on BBC One?

The drama was announced in January 2020, but by that point the cast was already in place so things seem to be moving quickly.

There will be six episodes in total – each lasting for an hour – and we’ve got our fingers crossed for a late 2020 air date, with filming having started up again in late August 2020 following the coronavirus pandemic.

What is Vigil about?

The series is set in Scotland and revolves around the events after the mysterious disappearance of a fishing trawler and a death on-board a Trident nuclear submarine. The two incidents see a conflict between local police and British security officers, with the Navy also involved.

DCI Amy Silva steps in to lead the investigation, which according to the plot synopsis, “leads an investigation on land and at sea into a conspiracy that threatens the very heart of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.”

(And in case you’re confused, yes – ITV also has a nuclear submarine-based thriller on the way, but that one’s called Tenacity.)

Who is in the cast of Vigil?

The lead role, that of DCI Amy Silva, will be played by Gentleman Jack star Suranne Jones, who said that the script feels “fresh and relevant.”

She said, “Tom Edge has created a thrill of a story, set in a world I knew nothing about. The cast and crew World Productions have put together to tell this story is so exciting. Amy Silva is a brilliantly complex character, thrown into a highly charged situation where her authority is weakened. We watch as she navigates her own personal trauma and loss, all at a time when she’s questioning her relationships and life choices.”

Rose Leslie, best known for her turns as Ygritte on Game of Thrones and Gwen Dawson on Downton Abbey will also play a key role. She said of her involvement, “I was weaned on BBC drama and it is thrilling to be back working at a place that feels like home with Tom Edge’s complex and gripping script. It will be a real honour to work with Suranne and I am looking forward to be filming back in Scotland.”

And a host of other stars have also signed onto the project, including Bodygauard’s  Anjli Mohindra, Endeavour’s Shaun Evans, and Martin Compston – well known to BBC One audiences as Steve Arnott on Line of Duty.

They are joined by Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers, Peep Show), Connor Swindells (Sex Education, Jamestown), Adam James (Doctor Foster, Deep State), and Gary Lewis (His Dark Materials, Billy Elliot).

Who is writing and directing Vigil?

The series was created by Tom Edge, whose previous writing credits include 2019 biopic Judy and episodes of The Crown, while  Ed Macdonald (The End of The F***ing World) and Chandni Lakhani (Dublin Murders) have also contributed episodes.

Edge said of the series, “I’m completely thrilled to be making this series with the talented people at World Productions and BBC Drama. The ‘Continuous At Sea Deterrent’, better known as ‘Trident’, has been a contentious part of national life for half a century now, a stock of nuclear missiles kept hundreds of feet below the sea surface.

“But this world has rarely been explored on screen. I can’t wait to take a BBC One audience down with us, into the pitch-black icy waters of the unseen Atlantic, where tomorrow’s geopolitical struggles are already being played out.”

Behind the camera, directorial duties will be shared by BAFTA-winner James Strong(Broadchurch, Vanity Fair, Liar) and Isabelle Sieb (Shetland, The Athena).

Vigil first look image

You can get a glimpse of Suranne jones in character as DCI Amy Silva in the first look image below, which was released in August 2020.

The image was taken earlier in 2020 – before production was paused in line with COVID guidelines.


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