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Why we’re clearing our diaries for series 2 of Vigil

Why we’re clearing our diaries for series 2 of Vigil

Welcome to the Long Story Short on Vigil. Whether you’ve got ten seconds or a few minutes, get up to speed on everything you need to know about this pacy crime drama returning for a second series this week

By Torri Mundell, Feature Writer

For many of us, watching the first series of Vigil was not a sedentary affair. A masterclass in slow-build tension, the crime drama had us shifting to the edge of our seats, biting our nails and even – during a couple of jeopardy-laden moments – pacing the room.


It was a suspenseful and thrilling ride. And we’ll be back for more, now that the second series is coming to BBC One HD (CH 101) at 9pm on Sunday 10 December. Watch the trailer below and keep reading to hear everything we know about DCI Amy Silva’s next investigation, this time into the shadowy world of drone warfare.


But before we launch into series 2, here’s a handy recap of everything that happened in the first series.


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Over six episodes, DCI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones, Doctor Foster) investigated a series of murkily connected circumstances and events: a nuclear submarine helmed by a fractious crew, a dead sailor on board, and a trawler that sinks mysteriously nearby. Her inquiry leads to a three-day stint deep underwater on HMS Vigil.


The submarine’s claustrophobic proportions, a mostly hostile crew who resented her intrusion, and the simmering tensions between the naval captain played by Paterson Joseph (Boat Story) and his arrogant lieutenant commander (Adam James, The Suspect) added up to a whole lot of tension. And before you could say “watery grave”, DCI Silva started to pull at a thread that reveals a tangled mess of conspiracies, conflicts and cover-ups that implicate the MI5, Russian spies, anti-nuclear activists and military whistleblowers.


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When Vigil launched in 2021, it swiftly became the BBC’s most-watched new drama since Bodyguard and subsequently netted an International Emmy. Created by Tom Edge, previously best known for detective drama Strike and the romantic sitcom Lovesick, it was the kind of show that got people talking, drawn in by the series’ compelling, finely-drawn characters and a deliciously complex plot, all unspooling from a suspicious death on a British nuclear submarine. 


The fast-thickening plot of the first series cleverly knitted together a conspiracy of global proportions, but the show’s characters and their back stories proved equally engrossing. And the cliffhangers! We’re still coming down from the flooded torpedo tube incident.


Each episode tantalisingly reveals more of the ambitions and fears that preoccupy them. Most affectingly, Silva’s time on HMS Vigil reignited PTSD flashbacks; the DCI had been repressing her grief and trauma from a terrible accident. Eventually, we learn that she was forced to leave her fiancé to drown in order to save his daughter.


And back on land, Silva’s DS and former lover, Kirsten Longacre (Death On The Nile’s Rose Leslie) has been tasked with uncovering the truth behind the murdered sailor’s shady past and his ambiguous personal relationships – all while managing her own mixed feelings towards her boss.


What can we expect from series 2?

So what’s ahead for detectives Silva and Longacre? Details about the series 2 storyline are a closely guarded secret, but we do know that the pair will be investigating mysterious multiple fatalities that take place during a routine Scottish weapons test. This time they won’t be headed into deep water but looking to the skies as their assignment leads them to the fascinating (and scary) world of drone warfare.


They’ll need steady nerves and all their wits to infiltrate the air force and get to the bottom of the case, especially when there’s so much murder, conspiracy and risk to their safety around.


And unsurprisingly, their personal lives are no less complicated. In the S1 finale, Silva tentatively reached out to her fiancé’s daughter Poppy (Orla Russell), from whom she’d become estranged. Will this rapprochement help to appease the DCI’s sense of guilt over the family tragedy?


The last episode in S1 also saw Silva and Longacre rekindle their relationship. So we’ll find out if that was a one-off, or if they’ve managed to stay close. And wait, is Longacre… pregnant? Yep, series 2 is shaping up to be as intricate and convoluted as the first, and we’re here for it.


Who else will star in the new series?

With a whole new mystery to unravel, we’ll also be introduced to a fresh lot of new characters. Romola Garai (Suffragette), Dougray Scott (A Town Called Malice), Amir El-Masry (SAS: Rogue Heroes) and Chris Jenks (Sex Education) are just some of the familiar faces joining the cast.


When can I watch series 2 of Vigil?

The second series of Vigil begins at 9pm on BBC One HD (CH 101) on Sunday 10 December, continuing on Monday 11 December and Tuesday 12 December. The first three episodes of series 2 will be available in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer from 6am on Sunday 10 December. You can watch S1 in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer now. 

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Image credit: Vigil © World Productions Ltd / Jamie Simpson