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Grace on ITV release date: Guide to John Simm drama based on Peter James books

Simm will play Brighton-based detective Roy Grace, the protagonist from Peter James' bestselling book series.

Grace (John Simm) - ITV

ITV crime drama Grace debuted this spring with a feature-length episode – and the series has already been renewed for a second season, with production beginning later this year.


The first ever episode is available to watch now on BritBox, and follows a groom-to-be who found himself in a (ahem) grave situation

The second episode for season one is set to air later this year, and will be based on the second of the Roy Grace books.

Speaking ahead of the show’s renewal, John Simm told RadioTimes.com and other press that he already has his “fingers crossed” that ITV wants to adapt all of the Roy Grace books.

In the series Simm plays the role of a troubled but methodical detective, whose missing wife casts a shadow over his already turbulent career.

The thriller is based on bestselling Roy Grace novels by Peter James, and consists of two episodes in total, with the air date for the second having not yet been announced.

The first instalment (inspired by the first book in the series) centred on a missing person case, when a groom-to-be vanishes during his stag-night – and was the focus of the show’s first, dramatic trailer.

Simm leads the Grace cast as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, whose investigations have been adapted from the books by Endeavour creator Russell Lewis, and he is joined in the cast by the likes of Richie Campbell (Liar, Small Axe) and Rakie Ayola (Noughts + Crosses).

Production for season one began in Brighton in September 2020 under coronavirus safety regulations, with the Grace filming locations including some prominent landmarks in the city and its surrounding area.

Novelist Peter James revealed that he is delighted with the show’s “inspired” casting, stating: “John Simm, who actually looks like the Roy Grace of my imagination, is inspired casting!  With John in the lead, the brilliant scripting by Russell Lewis, and our wonderful production team, I’m confident that fans of my novels, and of TV crime dramas in general, will be in for a treat.”

Here’s everything you need to know about ITV crime drama Grace.

When is Grace on ITV?

Grace premiered on ITV on Sunday 14th March at 8pm. We’ll keep this page updated with any news on the air date for Grace episode two.

Grace was first announced in December 2019, before filming commenced in September 2020.

The series first aired in spring, and has since been renewed for a second season following the success of the debut episode. Filming for season two will take place in the Brighton area later in 2021.

ITV’s Head of Drama Polly Hill said: “We are delighted to be adapting more of Peter James’ wonderful novels. John Simm has brilliantly brought the much-loved Detective Superintendent Roy Grace to screen and there are many more cases for the audiences to enjoy.”

Writer Russell Lewis (Endeavour) commented: “After the overwhelmingly positive audience response to the seaside noir of Dead Simple, (tabloid trauma tales notwithstanding!) and Looking Good Dead cued up ready to go, all at Team Roy Grace are delighted to have been given the opportunity by ITV to return to Brighton (& Hove, actually!) to continue Roy’s story with a new series of films based on Peter James best-selling novels.

“We’ll be shooting out of our Brighton HQ and all along and around the South Coast from late summer through to very late autumn, so it’s quite possible that like some macabre Radio Fab Roadshow, our caravanserai of coroner’s van, SOCO unit, Mobile Incident Room may well be coming to a street near you!  As the late, great Shaw Taylor used to ask viewers on Police 5… ‘Keep ‘em peeled!’”

ITV’s Grace cast

Grace (ITV)

John Simm (Doctor Who, Life on Mars) leads the Grace cast as the titular Brighton-based Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, a “hard-working police officer who has given his life to the job”.

Joining him are Richie Campbell (Liar, Top Boy) who plays DS Glenn Branson and Rakie Ayola (Noughts + Crosses) as ACC Vosper.

Other cast members include Laura Elphinstone (Game of Thrones) as DS Bella Moy, Amaka Okafor (The Split, Vera) as DC Emma Jane Boutwood, and Brad Morrison takes the role of DC Nicholl.

Grace trailer

You can watch the trailer for Grace here.

What is ITV’s Grace about?

The two-part drama (each episode lasting two hours) is adapted from the first two books in the Roy Grace series: Dead Simple and Looking Good Dead.

According to the ITV synopsis, the first film, Dead Simple, sees Grace “fixated by the disappearance of his beloved wife, Sandy, which haunts his thoughts. His unorthodox police methods have come under scrutiny once again and Grace is walking a career tightrope and risks being moved from the job he loves most.”

Writer Russell Lewis said he was “thrilled and honoured to be involved in bringing Peter James’ brilliantly gripping series of Roy Grace novels to ITV”.

He continued, “Each story is a fantastic, hair-raising, twisting, switch-back of a roller-coaster ride that grips the reader from first to last, and the opportunity to translate that best-selling magic to television is like all one’s Christmases and birthdays come at once.  As his millions of fans and admirers are well aware, Peter’s meticulous research and eye for detail is the stuff of legend.

“His long established, close relationship with the police, taken together with a knowledge of Brighton and the South Coast that is the sole preserve of the born and bred lends his stories an unimpeachable veracity of place and procedure.  That John Simm will be breathing flesh to the bones of Roy Grace really is the cherry on a dark, and troublingly encrimsoned cake…”


If you want to start reading Peter James’ Roy Grace series, you can purchase the first three novels on Amazon. Or, if you have seen the first episode you can read our Grace episode 1 ending explainer. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.