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Reasons to submerge yourself in new series Vigil

Reasons to submerge yourself in new series Vigil

If you thought bent coppers were bad enough on land, what about suspicious shipmates at sea?

By Laura Rutkowski, Staff Writer

Suranne Jones, Martin Compston and Shaun Evans lead this new BBC drama, where they climb aboard the Trident nuclear submarine HMS Vigil. When a fishing trawler goes missing and a crew member is found dead, the police are called in to determine if it really was an accidental overdose or whether foul play was involved.


Since the submarine must stay on patrol, DCI Amy Silva (Jones) joins the crew to investigate, but her presence isn’t exactly welcomed (least by the killer, if there is indeed one loose on the vessel). With Silva at sea, DS Kirsten Longacre (Rose Leslie, Game Of Thrones) is her right-hand woman on land.  

Doctor Foster’s Jones said Silva is “a brilliantly complex character, thrown into a highly charged situation where her authority is weakened. We watch as she navigates her own personal trauma and loss, all at a time when she’s questioning her relationships and life choices”.


As the thrilling series arrives just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend, here’s why you should dip a toe in to Vigil

It’s like Line Of Duty on a nuclear submarine

World Productions, the makers of Line Of Duty, Bodyguard and The Pembrokeshire Murders, made Vigil – the perfect thing to watch if you’re missing all the AC-12 action.


Trident, the UK’s nuclear deterrent system, is very real

Trident is centred at HM Naval Base Clyde on the west coast of Scotland, where the series is set. Filming took place across Glasgow.


Writer and creator Tom Edge (Strike) explained the concept: “The “Continuous At Sea Deterrent”, better known as “Trident”, has been a contentious part of national life for half a century now, a stock of nuclear missiles kept hundreds of feet below the sea surface. But this world has rarely been explored on screen.


“I can’t wait to take a BBC One audience down with us, into the pitch-black, icy waters of the unseen Atlantic, where tomorrow’s geopolitical struggles are already being played out.”


The ensemble cast is seriously star-studded

Martin Compston in Vigil

“Can you remind me, am I playing Craig Burke or Steve Arnott?” Martin Compston asks for some character clarification

Compston (Line Of Duty) stars as Chief Petty Officer Craig Burke, alongside fellow Scottish actors Leslie, Gary Lewis (Billy Elliott), Daniel Portman (Game Of Thrones), Lorne MacFadyen (Tina And Bobby) and Lauren Lyle (Outlander).


As well as Jones and Evans, the rest of the British cast features: Shaun Evans (Endeavour), Paterson Joseph (Peep Show), Anjli Mohindra (Bodyguard), Connor Swindells (Sex Education), Stephen Dillane (Game Of Thrones) and Lolita Chakrabarti (Criminal: UK).

There must be something in the water

The submarine HMS Vigil

Thar she blows! Oh wait, that’s not a whale, it’s HMS Vigil

If you do like to be beside the seaside, there are plenty of television series to choose from in this emerging trend of water-based watching. Annika, a new crime drama that recently aired on Alibi, follows DI Annika Strandhed, who heads up the new Marine Homicide Unit in Scotland (bonus points for also being set and filmed in Scotland!).

Colin Farrell and Stephen Graham in The North Water

The North Water: You know it’s cold when Captain Brownlee (Stephen Graham) has to bring out the fur coat

The North Water
is an upcoming BBC Two series, starring Colin Farrell, Jack O’Connell and Stephen Graham, about a whaling expedition to the Arctic (and the cast did indeed film it in the Arctic. Brrr…). It’s brutal and chilling in more ways than one, but it’s still a whale of a time (unless you like whales, or seals – definitely look away in that case).


Meanwhile, a horror series called The Rig is coming to Amazon Prime Video in 2022, starring Compston, who reunites with his Line Of Duty co-star Rochenda Sandall. They’re part of the crew on the Kishorn Bravo oil rig, located off the coast of Scotland (again – set and filmed in Scotland!). It’s also directed by John Strickland, who directed Bodyguard and Line Of Duty, so we’re starting to think there’s some sort of conspirasea going on here. We guess it’s time to play allll the sea shanties…


It’s perfect Bank Holiday viewing

The first episode of Vigil airs on BBC One HD (CH 101/108) at 9pm on Sunday 29 August and episode two at 9pm on Bank Holiday Monday, 30 August.


The six-part series will then continue each Sunday night, with new episodes premiering weekly on BBC One and in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer. All episodes are available in Ultra HD.

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Image credit: Vigil © World Productions/Mark Mainz