Christopher Eccleston has been written out of the hit ITV1 drama, Safe House – in fact, the whole series is being rewritten with a new lead cast.
Series 1 of the show aired in April and May last year and in September, the channel confirmed that a second run, comprising of four episodes, would screen in 2016. Eccleston was due to return, alongside co-stars Marsha Thomason (Lost) and Paterson Joseph (Bad Wolf/ The Parting of the Ways), but even though Christopher is said to have started filming in February, it now seems that ITV is substantially altering the show.
The Ninth Doctor actor played Robert, an ex-policeman who welcomed a family into his and Katy, his wife’s guest house under police protection from a serial killer (played by Deep Breath‘s Half-Face Man, Peter Ferdinando). The show received generally positive reviews and was watched by between 4.79 million and 5.92 million viewers. Executive Producer, Paula Cuddy previously stated:
“From the outset, the ambition was for Safe House to become a returnable series. The characters of Robert and Katy, maintaining their cover and providing a place of safety for those in need of protection is a compelling idea. We’re thrilled to be returning to tell another complex and engaging story.”
Eccleston, Thomason, and Joseph’s expulsion is a massive shame as the three were arguably the main reason it gained a following. Indeed, Eccleston was excellent in it; it did occur to me, however, that his performance (especially his exploration of the hilly environs) was a sort of primer for his role in The A Word, the successful BBC1 show that’s also been recommissioned. Maybe the latter has affected Safe House?
ITV has only confirmed:
“Due to circumstances which led to filming being delayed, the second series is now being filmed with new lead characters and features a new Safe House.”
Series 2 also promised an expanded cast, including Ashley Walters (Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS), Sacha Parkinson (Coronation Street), and Steven Mackintosh (Luther). It remains unknown whether the synopsis released when filming for Series 2 commenced will be adapted with a new cast. This read:
Robert and Katy’s lives are turned upside down when news breaks of a disturbing and sinister crime. John Channing has been out celebrating with girlfriend Julie Delaney when an unknown assailant suddenly abducts Julie.
Robert starts to look into the case, and it transpires that 15 years ago, a group perpetrated a series of strikingly similar abductions. Are they active once again?
It’s also believed that the series will shift location from the Lake District to somewhere in Wales, and due to delayed filming, we’re unlikely to see Series 2 until at least 2017.
I’m quite annoyed Eccleston’s had to leave the drama, but this might give him chance to focus on new projects – or perhaps on The A Word, which, if you haven’t seen yet, has been one of the best shows of this year and is highly recommended!
This is a shocking turn of events, but we’ll just have to wait and see if the series is worth going back to.