The drama Midwinter of the Spirit is based on the novels by Phil Rickman. Three parts, each 60 minutes in length, will be produced by ITV Studios and will be adapted by Stephen Volk whose previous credits include Afterlife and The Awakening.
Midwinter of the Spirit revolves around country vicar, Merrily Watkins, a female priest who works as an exorcist. The drama will follow the character as she becomes certain that Satanists are responsible for the death of man who is murdered.
Midwinter of the Spirit is the second original drama ordered for ITV Encore by ITV since the channel’s launch. In October the channel ordered The Frankenstein Chronicles featuring Sean Bean. ITV Encore launched on Sky in June and is part of ITV’s plan to expand into the pay-tv market. The channel mostly airs repeats of hit dramas such as Broadchurch and Downton Abbey but is aiming to have a slate of original programmes to sit alongside its repeats.
ITV’s recent forays into supernatural drama have included the 2011 drama Marchlands which was a ratings and critical success for ITV1. The drama was set across three decades and starred Alex Kingston, Anne Reid, Jodie Whittaker and Shelley Conn. It was followed up in 2013 by Lightfields which was also set across several decades and starred Jill Halfpenny, Lucy Cohu and Sophie Thompson. Lightfields was not a huge hit for ITV, however, failing to attract the media buzz that Marchlands enjoyed; both dramas were adapted from the American pilot The Oaks.