Is Innocent the new Broadchurch? The cast reveal all about ITV's addictive murder mystery

The protagonist of Innocent is living a nightmare - convicted of killing his wife, he faces spending the rest of his life behind bars. But what would life be like back on the outside? We hear more from stars Lee Ingleby, Hermione Norris and Daniel Ryan about the new contemporary drama.

Last updated: 14 May 2018 - 12.40pm

If you're looking for a different sort of whodunnit to get hooked on, ITV's Innocent should do the trick.

The four-part drama is centred around David Collins (Lee Ingleby), who has served seven years in prison for murdering his wife Tara, but has always insisted he isn't guilty.

[Read more: All you need to know about ITV's Innocent]

[Read more: Meet the cast of ITV's Innocent]

Despised by most of his family and friends - especially his wife's sister, Alice (Hermione Norris) who now looks after his children - his only support comes from his brother Phil (Daniel Ryan), who has been tirelessly campaigning to get him freed.

When David is suddenly released on a technicality, the question remains - what really happened on the night of Tara's death?

"I was really intrigued and wanted to know who these people were, and whether David was innocent or not," says 42-year-old Ingleby, perhaps best known for BBC drama Inspector George Gently, of taking on the role.

"I thought it would be quite a challenge to play somebody in that position."

Here, the cast tell us what we can expect from the thriller.

The Appeal

Innocent on ITV

Ryan, whose TV credits include Linda Green, Mount Pleasant and Skins, confides he isn't "really drawn to whodunits".

"I love things that have got an emotional heart, and that's why I was drawn to this," the 50-year-old says.

His character has certainly gone through a lot, having sacrificed his career and livelihood, and even lost a relationship, while fighting to get the appeal and re-trial for his brother.

It's a prospect once-childless Alice is utterly devastated by, having now formed a successful family unit with David's children and her husband Rob.

[Read more: Who is Lee Ingleby? Meet the star of ITV's Innocent]

[Read more: Who is Daniel Ryan? Meet the star of ITV's Innocent]

"It's got a side order of crime story for me, this show," Manchester-born Ryan continues. "I found it very, very moving, the tug of these kids caught in the middle."

As with many TV dramas, Innocent expertly shows the world from other people's points of view - and that's something Cold Feet star Hermione Norris, 51, thinks is "more important today than ever".

"We all live in quite small communities," elaborates the London-born actress, "and naively believe everyone shares the same view, when they don't."

Blurred Lines

Innocent on ITV

Be prepared with Innocent - even as the story develops, you'll continue to feel a real uncertainty about who and what to believe.

And, of course, there are many unexpected turns.

"It's not quite as simple as 'you're guilty' - even with Hermione's character," says Ingleby, when asked if he thinks people will root for David to be found innocent.

"It's like anything - there's reasons why certain things happen, why people have certain opinions, which come later on."

And how David deals with suddenly being freed was an interesting element for Burnley-born Ingleby to explore both "psychologically and physically".

"It will take a lot for people to change their mind about him, even if hard evidence comes forward," explains the star.

"Even if you are innocent, sometimes the damage has been done already. There is always that suspicion hanging over David. It's hard to regain people's trust."

All in all, David is a man full of rage.

"It's a big story in a small town," says Ingleby. "People look at him everywhere he goes. It's hard. So sometimes that anger bubbles up."

Behind The Scenes

Innocent on ITV

There's definitely a lot of hatred between David and Alice, hence some serious confrontation on screen - especially over his determination to re-introduce himself to his children, who were very young when he was sentenced.

"Those scenes were great," recalls Ingleby. "David is saying, 'He's my son' and she's saying, 'You gave up that right. I became their guardian and I'll do anything to protect them'.

"The relationship between David and her [Alice] is a simmering pot of resentment."

For Norris, summoning up the rage that Alice feels towards her former brother-in-law was understandably "tiring".

"A day-long shoot can be quite exhausting," she admits. "When you're filming a scene you're not doing it once, you're doing it loads of times. It's very draining."

However, there were fun times on set, too, and Norris remembers one particularly funny moment when she and Ingleby were asked to pose for a stills photographer together.

"We had just played a really intense and emotional scene and neither of us could stop laughing. It was terrible. We literally lost it, laughing."

Meanwhile, Ingleby and Ryan, who had previously worked together on BBC drama The Street, enjoyed going out for drinks off set to further their brotherly bond.

"We filmed in a very rural spot north of Dublin, with nothing much else, but the local pub was kind of handy," quips Ryan. "It was good to build that up."

Getting Personal

Innocent on ITV

Back to the show's dark premise, and Norris notes she can't imagine anything worse than the situation David is in.

"It would ruin your life even if you were found not guilty," she points out. "The prosecution and trial process can take a long time."

"I don't think I would cope in prison. It would just be really horrendous. Especially to be wrongly convicted or if you made a mistake."

Have the cast ever been accused of something they weren't guilty of?

"When I was a kid, there was a few of us who went to a mate's house," Ryan begins. "The first I knew about it, the police came to my house and said I'd stolen something from his brother's bedroom. I hadn't at all - ended up being the brother who'd not owned up to it.

"I remember the terror of being accused of something I hadn't done. It was horrific."

Turns out Ingleby also has a similar childhood memory to share...

"My French teacher said I threw a piece of chewing gum at the back of his head," he recalls. "It wasn't me, it came from behind me.

"I got suspended from school for a couple of days. I think it's because I answered back."

Innocent airs on ITV over four consecutive nights, starting from Monday May 14.

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