Dalgliesh’s Bertie Carvel says series is “about the first year of grief”

The Doctor Foster star is the latest actor to play the enigmatic detective.


The latest adaptation of PD James’ Adam Dalgliesh novels makes its way to Channel 5 tonight, with Doctor Foster star Bertie Carvel following in the footsteps of Roy Marsden and Martin Shaw in playing the enigmatic detective.


The six-parter will see the title character solve three different cases, but speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press ahead of the new series, Carvel has said that the show is also “a story about the first year of grief”.

The series introduces us to Dalgliesh not long after the death of his wife and child, and lead of the Dalgliesh cast Carvel explained that the grieving process is the over-arching theme of the show.

“I mean, for me, the big excitement about this job was to knit these stories together,” he said. “As a TV detective, you have the opportunity to tell a story that’s running parallel to the murder stories, like the murder of the week kind of thing.

“So there’s another story going on about what’s in the detective’s mind, which may or may not relate to the murders. With these, the way of knitting these three stories together for me was that it’s a story about the first year of grief, he’s just lost his wife and child.”

He added that the theme of grief had particular significance for him as he had lost his mother shortly before filming, and so making the series became both more challenging but also somewhat therapeutic.

“The story I was making was, as I keep saying, a story about a year of grief,” he explained. “[And] that intersects with my own experience in a way that was both challenging and healing.

“My mother died in November 2019, and that and the birth of my son that followed closely are really the hinges in my life, and I won’t be the same again, nor will my work. So that was challenging, but healing and therapeutic to do.”


Dalgliesh premieres on Thursday November 4th at 9pm on Channel 5 and My5. Visit our Drama hub for more news and features, or see what else is on with our TV Guide.