HUDDERSFIELD actress Jodie Whittaker is set for a return to TV.
She is to star next week in the BBC2 drama The Night Watch.
She joins Anna Maxwell Martin (South Riding), Claire Foy (Little Dorrit) and Harry Treadaway (Fish Tank) in starring in a tragic and tender adaptation of Sarah Waters’ best-selling novel.
The sexual drama has been adapted by award-winning British writer, Paula Milne (Small Island, Endgame, The Virgin Queen and The Politician’s Wife).
It is set in the London of the Blitz and The Night Watch tells the stories of four young Londoners inextricably linked by their wartime experiences.
In a time when the barriers of sexual morality and social convention have been broken down, Kay (Anna Maxwell Martin), Helen (Claire Foy), Viv (Jodie Whittaker) and Duncan (Harry Treadaway) enjoy a freedom never experienced before as they engage in secret liaisons and passionate trysts.
The drama opens in 1947 as the country is trying to rebuild itself after the war. Kay is seen mysteriously roaming the streets, haunted by some traumatic personal loss.
Meanwhile, Helen and Viv run a marriage bureau, helping people rebuild their shattered lives by finding love.
But their own complicated love lives are less easy to solve. Helen obsessively clings to her tumultuous and volatile relationship with Julia while Viv is continuing an affair with a married man whom she seems unable to break free from.
Viv’s vulnerable young brother Duncan harbours a terrible secret, when a face from his past re-appears which threatens his fragile existence.
Hilary Salmon, executive producer, said: “We are very proud to be making this ambitious film for BBC Two, bringing to our audience the untold stories of ordinary people as they struggle to find love and tenderness during the uncertain nights of the London Blitz.
“Paula’s beautiful script has vividly brought to life Sarah Waters’ astonishing and revelatory novel. We are delighted with the outstanding cast we’ve assembled who represent some of the best young talent in the UK today.”
Jodie, who was brought up in Skelmanthorpe, said: “When I first auditioned it was for Kay, but I knew I wasn’t going to get the role because it just wasn’t right for me. I was so surprised when I got a re-call and Richard Laxton – the director – said he wanted me to play Viv not Kay.
“I was so excited by playing Viv, her vulnerability is hidden beneath this veneer of confidence in her sexuality, but also combined with a desire for male attention, making an incredibly complex character.
“Viv loves Reggie and when someone knows so much about you and has seen what he has seen her go through, it is terrifying to feel worthy enough as a person to start afresh with someone else.
“Viv believes she doesn’t deserve anything better than what she’s got with him – which keeps her with him.”
She added: “I think the war brought them together in the sense that he is on leave, desperate to get home – and this frantic energy reflects their relationship.
“But I think war is the backdrop to a story about people and relationships. It’s not a story about the war and I don’t think that the war was why they were attracted to each other, but the fact that he was married, it was forbidden.”
It is the latest TV role for the actress, 31, who starred in the acclaimed thriller Accused earlier this year
She is a former Shelley College pupil and was then a Huddersfield Arts and Performing Arts student.
The Night Watch goes out on Tuesday, July 12, at 9pm on BBC2.