Last night I had the chance to see an advanced screening of the first episode of the new series of Written In Blood. I had won tickets through a Twitter competition and took along my partner in crime – Vicki Goldman. Thank you CBS Reality for a lovely evening.
I have to admit I did get a bit obsessive over the first series. Simon Toyne (in his trademark coat) is the presenter and along with various authors such as Mark Billingham, Marnie Riches and Howard Linskey and experts from the cases, they looked at true crime stories that had influenced the writers.
The second series is a bit different. This time Simon is pretty much in the dark with the crimes. He takes on more of an investigative role, guided by the author. I liked this approach much more. One of the reasons I watch is to see the author and this way he or she is in almost the whole of the episode. It also creates a more personal programme as we, the audience, go on this journey with them.
The first episode, which airs next Tuesday 16th October at 10pm on CBS Reality, is about a crime set in Northern Ireland. The author is Clare Mackintosh. It’s a case I’d heard about about but couldn’t remember all the details. As a former police officer, Clare presents the evidence really well and as an author, she knows how to leave us on a cliffhanger! I’m not going to give you any more details as I don’t want to spoil it for you. But what I will say is the phrase, ‘Life is stranger than fiction’, is absolutely apt with this true crime.
There are six episodes in the series and as they were filmed in the summer, Simon’s trademark coat has gone. The authors from the UK are Clare Mackintosh, Mason Cross, Sophie Hannah and Peter Robinson, and then from the US – Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter.
After the screening, Simon Toyne was joined by Sam Rowden, Director of Programming at CBS Reality and Executive Producer on Written In Blood. They did a Q&A with the audience and one my questions was about seeking permission from the families of the victims to make a programme. Sam Rowden explained that they are regulated by Ofcom so there are very specific guidelines that have to be followed, including gaining permission, allowing the families to see the programmes before airing if they wish to and notifying them of the exact times of transmission. I was reassured that such sensitivity was being shown. And certainly, the first season of Written In Blood, never came across to me as entertainment. The crimes were not sensationalised and the victims’ stories were paramount.
So, as said earlier, the first episode of the new series will air on Tuesday 16th October at 10pm. Now to save you having to scroll through your guides on your TVs, you can find CBS Reality on Sky 146, Freeview 66, Virgin Media 148 and Freesat 135. Or do as I do and set up a series link recording!