A gripping and gritty drama, ITV’s The Bay is a ratings winner and it’s been penned by the award-winning NI writer Daragh Carville.
After just one episode (which can be seen on Catch-Up TV) last Wednesday, already it is a water-cooler chat highlight and has impressed even the most hardened critics.
Being compared to hit drama Broadchurch and set in the northern coastal town of Morecambe, The Bay revolves around a feisty police liaison officer Detective Sergeant Lisa Armstrong (played by Morven Christie) who had a one night stand with a man in a bar.
Hungover, she drags herself late into work and finds herself involved in the case of two missing children. Trained not to get too emotionally involved, it comes as a shock that the man she had a fling with the night before has a close connection to the missing kids.
Now living in Lancaster which is not far from Morecambe, Daragh draws on his local knowledge and respect for his adopted home.
From Armagh City and fiercely proud of it, he grew up on the Cathedral Road and went to St Patrick’s College.
The school was renowned for its plays. “I had that experience of an inspirational English teacher Paul McAvinchey,” said Daragh, who regularly took part in school plays.
“That fired my imagination just being in that environment when I was a teenager. From then on I wanted to write and I specifically wanted to write scripts and that was partly down to being in school plays.”
Daragh studied film and drama at Canterbury University before moving to France for a few years teaching English. He returned home to study for an MA at Queen’s University in Belfast. While there he got into theatre in the 1990s when Tinderbox was starting.
“That got me into writing plays. From there people would come and see my plays and conversations would start about film and television,” said Daragh, who has written two feature films, Middletown and Cherrybomb.
“Since then I have been writing plays as well but increasingly I’ve been working in TV, writing for other people’s shows while trying to develop my own.
“Finally it came together with this project The Bay,” said Daragh, who has been living in England for the last 12 years. “I am based in Lancaster which is next door to Morecambe where The Bay is set. There is a view out over Morecambe Bay from our house.”
It’s a gritty show and Daragh said ‘that comes from the place. It is really beautiful with extraordinary views but it is also gritty. It is a bit run-down. It has struggled like many seaside towns, including in Ireland, to find an identity for itself now that people are going on holidays to Spain.
“But it still has that sense of faded grandure to it. It has a really strong sense of community and I wanted to write about all of that.
“The Bay is visually beautiful but it does go to some dark places. It is crime drama.
“There is always a bit of you in everything you write and part of the dynamic of this story is about work/life balance and how much your work can take over your life and how that can have an impact on family and other aspects of life.
“It’s about a police Family Liasion Officer and in the story two teenage kids have gone missing. It is both a crime drama and a family drama and that is very much what I wanted to do and this character of the family liaison officer felt like the right way in.”
A father of two children himself, Daragh is hugely proud of The Bay
“It’s all a bit mad. It’s very exciting. There seems to be a bit of a buzz about it which is fantastic.”
ITV’s The Bay (part one) is available on catch up and the second episode is this Wednesday night at 9pm. Definitely worth a watch.