The BBC has announced the commissioning of a new detective series called “Virdee,” which is based on the popular crime novels by AA Dhand. The show will star Sacha Dhawan, known for his roles in “Doctor Who,” “The Great,” and “Wolf.” The production of the series will be undertaken by the recently established company Magical Society, led by Paul Trijbits, who has worked on projects such as “Jane Eyre,” “The Letter For The King,” and “The Casual Vacancy.”
Lindsay Salt, the Director of BBC Drama, unveiled the new six-part drama for both BBC One and BBC iPlayer during the Edinburgh TV Festival’s Spotlight on the BBC session. The series introduces Detective Harry Virdee, portrayed by Sacha Dhawan. Harry, a police officer from Bradford, has been estranged from his Sikh family due to his marriage to Saima, a Muslim. Struggling with the emotional fallout of this abandonment, Harry relentlessly tries to mend his fractured family ties. Amidst his personal turmoil, he becomes entangled in a pursuit to apprehend a serial killer who is targeting the Asian community.
As the murderer abducts the daughter of a local Member of Parliament in Bradford and holds the entire city hostage, Harry realises that his only chance lies in seeking assistance from his brother-in-law Riaz. Riaz, a drug lord who controls the largest cartel in the county, brings together an unlikely partnership that could potentially lead to their downfall. Faced with a critical decision, Harry must choose between safeguarding his own family and himself, or protecting the city. However, the possibility of achieving both objectives seems remote.
AA Dhand says: “Like me, DCI Harry Virdee is a proud Brit who dreams big and whilst he is passionate about his heritage, it is not something which solely defines him. He refuses to be shackled by the past and believes in merging worlds, cultures and identities; no matter the cost. Hey, aim big or go home – this is Yorkshire.”
Paul Trijbits, excutive producer, says: “Working with Amit to get the Harry Virdee books to the screen has been a long but utterly satisfying journey. It’s no mean feat for Amit to have succeeded in adapting this love story set in such a rich and complex world and wrapping it all up in a crime series.”
Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, says: “I’m passionate about supporting writers at every stage in their careers and we are thrilled to be working with Amit on his very first drama for television along with the team at Magical Society. Virdee is a powerful and gripping detective story but at its heart are two people in love and their struggle to be accepted as a couple. With Sacha in the lead role of Harry and Bradford providing the perfect backdrop, I can’t wait for viewers to be captivated by this series.”
Virdee (6 x 60’) is adapted for the screen by AA Dhand. The series is executive produced by Paul Trijbits, AA Dhand and Jo McClellan for the BBC, and produced by Stella Nwimo (Top Boy, Gangs of London). The co-producers are Gareth Coulam Evans, Callum Dodgson, Sylvie Richards and Karl Hall. Virdee is a Magical Society production in association with Screen Yorkshire for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Cineflix Rights is the exclusive worldwide distribution partner.
Virdee will be an essential part of the activities leading up to the 2025 Bradford City of Culture. To support the production, The Screen Academy Bradford has been set up to deliver a series of bespoke training programmes across all departments, designed to address specific crew shortages and skills gaps, particularly among underserved groups in Bradford. The academy is spearheaded by Magical Society and supported by the BBC, the HETV Skills Fund delivered by ScreenSkills, Bradford Council, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Tracy Brabin Mayor of West Yorkshire and Screen Yorkshire. The academy producer is Ameenah Ayub Allen (Ali & Ava, Rocks).
Filming will start later this year in and around Bradford and further cast will be announced in due course.