Ben Aldridge and Pearl Mackie play a detective duo in The Long Call

The Long Call: add ITV’s gripping new detective drama to your autumn watchlist

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Looking for a crime drama to sink your teeth into this autumn? Here’s everything you need to know about ITV’s new detective series, The Long Call.

ITV has long been the home of gritty detective dramas, with the likes of Marcella, Unforgotten, The Pembrokeshire Murders and Whitechapel considered staples of the genre.

But now, just in time for autumn, comes another riveting event (from the producers of Vigil, no less) to add to our must-watch list: The Long Call.

Inspired by the best-selling novel of the same title from writer Ann Cleeves, creator of the iconic Vera and Shetland series, it follows intriguing and flawed protagonist, Detective Inspector Matthew Venn, who has returned to live in a small community in North Devon with his husband, Jonathan after the death of his father. But when the body of a man is found on the beach close to Matthew’s home, the investigation throws a cast of doubt on the whole community. 

And we’re already very intrigued. 

Here’s everything we know about The Long Call so far.

What is the plot of The Long Call?

The atmospheric crime drama is set in the beautiful yet haunting North Devon coastline, in a closed-off community that DI Matthew Venn (played by Fleabag and Our Girl actor Ben Aldridge) walked away from 20 years ago, after being rejected by his family.

We first meet the reserved but intense Venn outside the local church as his father’s funeral takes place. Having turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up after coming out as LGBTQ+, he became estranged from his family.

But now he’s back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major murder. A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew’s new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, has been stabbed to death.

Venn and his team have to get to the bottom of a case which brings with it old wounds and a deadly secret in order to expose the killer.

The series is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, by Ann Cleeves
The series is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, by Ann Cleeves

Who stars in The Long Call?

Aldridge is joined by a cast including Juliet Stevenson, as Venn’s mother, Dorothy and Martin Shaw as the spiritual Brethren leader Dennis.

Anita Dobson, Neil Morrissey, Dylan Edwards, Sarah Gordy, Amit Shah and Alan Williams will also add their talents to the series, alongside Pearl Mackie as his colleague and confidant DC Jen Rafferty.

Ben Aldridge, who played Arsehole Guy in Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag will take the lead as DI Matthew Venn
Ben Aldridge, who played Arsehole Guy in Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag will take the lead as DI Matthew Venn

Is there a trailer for The Long Call?

Sadly not yet, but with a projected autumn release date, we imagine it won’t be long until we have our first proper look at the series. In the meantime, ITV have released a promotional image of Aldridge and Mackie as detective duo Venn and Rafferty.

Ben Aldridge and Pearl Mackie play a detective duo in The Long Call
Ben Aldridge and Pearl Mackie play a detective duo in The Long Call

What are people saying about The Long Call?

Lead actor Aldridge previously told ITV: “I’m delighted to be playing Matthew Venn, a brilliantly unorthodox detective who audiences will see solving a gripping and intricate case, while simultaneously surmounting a deeper, more personal mystery within himself.”

Aldridge called the series a “poignant and complex journey of self-discovery and sexual and religious identity, which navigates the tension between pride and shame.”

Where can I watch The Long Call?

Though the four-part series was first announced back in April 2021, it has been confirmed that it will be on our screens this autumn. The show will be available on ITV Hub and ITV Studios will handle international distribution. 

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Images: ITV

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