Sherwood creator admits filming for BBC series ‘shut down’ on second day Huge stress

Robert Glenister discusses new series Sherwood

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On Monday, viewers will tune in to watch Sherwood, a BBC drama which will depict two real-life murders that shook the Nottinghamshire mining village of Annesley Woodhouse back in 2004. David Morrissey will lead the star-studded cast as he portrays Detective Chief Superintendent Ian St Clair. Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt is also among the line-up as well as Robert Glenister, Alun Armstrong, Lesley Manville and Stephen Tompkinson.

The six-part drama will look at the murder cases which at the time, sparked a massive manhunt in Nottinghamshire.

Sherwood will also see how the tragic killings threatened to inflame historic divisions which triggered the Miners’ Strike three decades before.

Speaking to and other press in a Q&A, show creator James, who grew up in the village of Annesley Woodhouse, opened up about why he wanted to tell such an important story.

He went on to admit that they had to “aggressively film” the drama throughout the coronavirus pandemic, which caused chaos on set.

“We had to film aggressively during COVID-19 which posed a huge amount of challenges,” the writer began.

When asked how he filmed aggressively, Graham continued: “It just felt aggressive.

“I’ve never as a writer before in my life had to be on call every morning in case three of the cast members don’t turn up and I have to rewrite a scene.

“I think it was a huge stress for the actors to never sort of know on a day-to-day basis what you’re going to be doing.

“A TV drama takes a long time to build, it takes about a year to write and then another six to eight months to start producing.

“And we felt really confident, and we got on set on the first day and then on the second day we were shut down because someone caught COVID-19

“We thought, ‘Who is it? We could probably get away with [them] not being here’ and it was the director.”

“So, it was yeah, it was disruptive,” the writer went on to add.

Discussing the reason he felt the Annesley Woodhouse murders were such an important story to tell, James explained: “I wanted to find a story to tell in my hometown for a very long time and I’m impossibly proud to grow up and come from where I come from in North Nottinghamshire, which is another former mining village, which doesn’t always get a voice on the national stage.

“And I sometimes feel like, especially at the moment when everyone’s talking about levelling up and the red wall… everyone is talking about us, but no one’s necessarily talking to us.

“I have a huge privilege and responsibility to try and give voice to the kind of people and the characters that I grew up with and the issues that still compound as every day.

“And I wanted to just briefly acknowledge that as I know many of you know, this is inspired by some real things that happened.”

“I felt sometimes overwhelmed by the responsibility of that because I take it incredibly seriously,” he added.

James went on to pay a tribute to the family of one of the victims, who helped him and the cast to share the story as sensitively and as accurately as possible.

“I’m very proud to say that some of the family of the victim that Alun Armstrong plays, is here today and I’m impossibly grateful,” the writer praised before adding: “For their bravery and going on this journey with us and speaking to the actors and speaking to me.

“That’s far braver than writing television dramas and I’m really grateful.”

Sherwood begins on June 13 at 9pm on BBC One.

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