Unforgotten returns to our screens!

Unforgotten returns to our screens!

By Text and photos: Supplied

Published: Mon 3 Sep 2018, 1:55 PM

Last updated: Wed 5 Sep 2018, 7:55 PM

WHO ISN'T A HUGE fan of crime dramas? We definitely are. With the influx of so many of these types of shows on television we are really spoiled for choice. However, there are always a few that stick out from the rest. We couldn't be more excited to see the return of ITV and Mainstreet Pictures' compelling crime drama, Unforgotten, for a highly-anticipated third series.
Created and written by screenwriter Chris Lang (Innocent, Dark Heart), the new six-part series sees BAFTA nominees Nicola Walker (Last Tango In Halifax) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (Goodness Gracious Me) reprise their roles as DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunil 'Sunny' Khan as they investigate another emotionally-charged cold case.
The pair will be joined for the series by acclaimed actors Alex Jennings (A Very English Scandal, The Crown), Kevin McNally (Pirates of The Caribbean, Designated Survivor), Neil Morrissey (Line of Duty, The Good Karma Hospital) and James Fleet (Indian Summers, The Vicar of Dibley) who play a close-knit group of old school friends that have stood by one another through thick and thin.
The third series focuses around the discovery of the body of a teenage girl who went missing at the turn of the millennium. The four men are placed under the spotlight and their relationships are tested to the limit.
Hailed the "best detective drama of the decade" by the Daily Telegraph and "crime drama of the highest class" by The Guardian, the first two series proved hugely successful with viewers and critics alike, with the last series receiving an average consolidated viewing figure of over 6million with a 21% rating.
Stars of Unforgotten Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar talk about the new highly anticipated series, how they deal with the gruesome details of murder and how social media is changing the crime and news game.
 
Nicola Walker as Cassie Stuart
Nicola explains how the series explores the effect of the press and social media on our lives and criminal investigations.
I think that is what I love the most about this series. Chris is taking the temperature of what is going on around us at the moment and the way we are fed news. It comes from so many different angles now and for the first time, Cassie has to deal with a media advisor.
The original case was 18 years ago and it was mishandled on many levels, including the investigation itself, so the police are being scrutinised and Cassie is the public face. Then when you feed that into an age where social media is very quick to get involved, it's even more complicated and difficult.
I haven't seen this subject handled as well as Chris is handling it in this series because the way we receive news and where we get our information from is changing, and I love that he seems to be listening to the conversations we are all having.
She goes on to discuss how enjoyable it is to play a male and female duo who are not forced into a romantic storyline.
The scene where Chris got them to almost have that moment was absolutely brilliant last year. I laughed out loud when I first read that on the page! It felt like Chris was saying, 'OK, so normally this is what would happen at this stage in a TV drama, but we are not going to do that!'
I really love him for doing that and that it's part of their back story. Cassie thought it was a very drunken, insane lapse of sanity by Sunny and was probably more worried that he would feel embarrassed the following morning. That is the joy of them, they are intimate and so physically relaxed with each other, but it's not sexual. It's great to see it because I know it is possible - I have wonderful male friends in my life who I rely on, but you just don't see it very often on screen.
This series focuses on the close relationships of four school friends.
I have one friend from when I was very young. She has been my friend forever, but apart from her there aren't really people I still see from school. However, university brought me my two best friends who are my family. We are the family who picked each other. It doesn't cover it when I call them my friends because they are so much more than that and have certainly put up with much more than friends should!
Unforgotten has proven hugely popular with viewers and critics alike. Nicola feels this success lies in the writing and the fact the stories resonate with the public.
Chris Lang understands what is going on around us and feeds that into the scripts every year. I find it really refreshing that his scripts deal with the things you have been worrying about. One of the questions asked in this series is how we proceed in an environment where social media gets involved in criminal cases. There are many positives about that, but in our story, we also show how that can be problematic.
He also looks at how a high-profile case which was mishandled sticks in the consciousness of the whole country. We can all name those big cases, whether they were solved or not. They change the way you feel about the world you live in.
Sanjeev Bhaskar plays DI Sunny Khan
Reprising his role as DI Sunny Khan, Sanjeev Bhaskar tells us what we can expect from the new series.
We discover a body that has been buried beside a motorway. The motorway construction workers discover it whilst doing some repair work on the road and we then find out that it was a young girl who went missing at the turn of the millennium - New Year's Eve 1999.
Like the other two series, it is a cold case investigation but it is very different at the same time. In this one, the investigation centres around four friends and their families who rented a holiday home near where a young girl went missing. These four men have been friends for years, all of them are supportive of each other and they are all still fairly close. The investigation becomes centred around those characters and their families.
On a more personal level, the cases over the years have built up a certain strain on Cassie and she is feeling the pressure a lot more in this series. My character recognises that, and tries to help out and cover for her where need be. 
And Sanjeev, Sunny and Cassie's relationship shows the series' fresh and unusual depiction of detectives.
Someone watching for the first time in America recently commented on how nice and empathetic the two detectives were in this show and it made me realise that it is quite unusual for this type of show.
Sunny's empathy for Cassie and her situation, as well as for the victims of these crimes, has always been there and we do see that side of him this series, plus a little more complication in his personal life which we haven't seen before. 
Discussing the exploration of press and social media in the story, Sanjeev explains why he feels it's so relevant.
Another really interesting part of this series is that it looks at the role of the press and social media in these kinds of cases. Everyone jumps on social media to proffer an opinion of some sort nowadays and this series looks at the impact that has on the investigation itself.
Social media is a part of our lives. It used to be that people got their information through newspapers and if you wanted to make a comment you either made it to your friends in a pub or you wrote to a newspaper. The reach of those things is quite limited, whereas now you can put it on social media and it goes around the world. This means that the opportunity for disinformation, misinformation and half-thought information is absolutely rife and generally people are commenting from a place of relative ignorance - sometimes well-meaning and sometimes not.
Unlike a political subject which would already be in the public domain, things like serious crime are not really. The crime itself may be, but the details of the case are definitely not and yet people proffer an opinion. Whilst people used to keep things to themselves, now they have an audience of millions, so whether it is conspiracy theories or just that someone has been accused of something and someone online doesn't like the look of them, that can all feed into what a lot of people access as information which is potentially quite dangerous. So, I think it is important that we explore this because it is a very contemporary situation that didn't exist 10 years ago. 
Despite the tough subject matter, Sanjeev reveals that he believes being able to laugh and have a sense of humour allows him to leave the emotions on set and has helped him overcome difficult situations in life.
I don't find it hard to switch off after a day of filming. Certainly, if you have scenes that are hugely emotional, that does weigh on you, but one of the greatest gifts of the many gifts that this series has given me is my friendship with Nicola (Walker). One of the things we inevitably do when we have difficult scenes is have a laugh as soon as the director shouts 'cut'. In the end, that becomes a saving grace. Being able to laugh at yourself not only denotes to me a degree of humanity, but I honestly believe that a sense of humour can save your life and keep you sane. I have been lucky in that I know a sense of humour has saved me in the past.
For me, the thing I struggle with is when I work on a job like this one that I enjoy and have a great time on, is the absence of that afterwards. For a few weeks it feels like there is something missing. When you go onto a new job you are almost starting from zero again which is partly exciting but also a bit strange. I don't feel the need to make friends on set, but it is easier and more fun when you build good relationships with those people.
He goes on to say how great it is to work with such brilliant, positive actors.
I had met Neil Morrissey before - he was a guest on the Kumars so it was weird and lovely to see him and talk about that. I had worked with James Fleet once before and had met Kevin McNally at the Attenborough Centre when we were doing an evening celebrating Richard. I was interviewing him on stage and as soon we saw each other again on set, we reminisced about that.
You can check out Unforgotten on BBC First tonight at 20:00 KSA / 21:00 UAE.




More news from City Times