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The scoop on ITV’s chilling new drama, 'The Sister'

Adapted from Luther creator Neil Cross’ 2007 novel Burial, The Sister is an exciting and dark new drama coming to ITV for four chilling episodes. Find out more about the intriguing new show before the first episode on Monday 26th October at 9pm on ITV.

Taking place in multiple timelines, the show follows the story of a murder and promises endless twists, turns, intrigue and suspense. Check out the trailer below for a hint of what’s to come. 

What is The Sister about? 


The Sister itself focuses on Russell Tovey’s (Flesh & Blood, History Boys) character Nathan, who writer Neil Cross says is as close to autobiographical as he’s come on page or on the screen. Nathan is haunted by a terrible secret, and as the years go on, he only has more to lose if the truth comes out. Then when a figure emerges from his past (played by Bertie Carvel), Nathan’s safe and comfortable life is thrown into turmoil. 

Tovey said that Nathan is "fundamentally a really simple, nice man...who just wants to have a lovely life - fall in love, have kids, and be normal.” 

However, when Bertie Carvel’s character Bob reappears, he acts as what Tovey describes as “the grim reaper...cutting his nails on his scythe, just waiting to step in.” 

Tovey also commented that he found the role extremely challenging, saying 

“I don’t take work home that much...but the thing about this role is you exist in this contained tension where whatever you’re saying is not really what’s being said, and there is this anxiety and absolute fear and panic the whole time which is being suppressed.” 

Carvel commented on the complexity and contradictions of the show, saying 

“It’s an oddly attentive story for one that’s so...dark. I was continually in awe of the fact that we were making this for prime time television, because when you look at it it’s an incredibly dark story, and every twist in the plot sharpens and darkens it in a very delicious way, and yet, […] I was amazed at how much I cared about the people and how redemptive I found it, because when you really think about what they’ve done, it’s awful.” 

In fact, from what the cast told us, it seems like you’ll spend your time watching The Sister struggling to find out who to root for. Carvel said that he “loved that you want these two guys to get away with this dreadful, dreadful crime”, while Tovey said “you want them to get away with it and you want Nathan to be happy, but then you also feel they don’t really deserve that...but you still want it.”  

What inspired The Sister?

the sister bertie carvel in a car


Writer Neil Cross revealed the disturbing inspiration for his novel Burial came from a vivid dream (or more fittingly a nightmare) in which he had when he was just a teenager, in which he stabbed a homeless man while walking home “out of my head on cider in Bristol.” 

Cross told us the whole chilling story in a Q&A for ITV: 

"We used to drink cider in gallon containers because it was 32p a pint and I was making my way back to my sister's house and there was a shortcut... you can either walk round a very long road... or you can take a shortcut through the woods, through these concrete steps through the woods...And I just woke up the next morning, not with any sense I'd had a dream of any description. I woke up with a very, very clear memory of coming across a homeless man asleep on the steps who I randomly stabbed to death.” 

Cross clarified that,

"There was no blood on me, I have to say. I did carry a knife in those days... there was no blood on the knife, there was no blood on my clothes, there was no blood anywhere, but I was still looking out the window for the police, I was scanning the news. I was absolutely certain that I remembered randomly killing this man.” He then “lived in degrees of fear for certainly the next week” and said "I genuinely find this difficult to talk about... and when the internet was invented, one of the first things I did... was search the old newspapers from 1985. But I didn’t do it, if anyone’s wondering.” 

Can we expect elements of the supernatural? 

the sister shadowy figure running through the woods


With Halloween approaching and the weather getting darker and colder, we can’t help but prick up our ears when we hear there might be a ghost story afoot...The Sister flirts with the supernatural and the idea of ghosts, but you’re never quite sure whether you’re supposed to think there’s ghosts or not. 

Interestingly, Cross admits that, 

“[in-keeping with] the duality of the show, I’m a rationalist, I’m a materialist, I don’t believe that ghosts are the discarded spirits of dead human beings, I don’t believe in life after death. But at the same time, I’ve absolutely experienced a haunting...I can’t begin to explain what happened […] I’ve experienced not just one [occurrence] but a haunted house, but at the same time, I don’t believe in ghosts.” 

Whether haunted by ghosts or just dark memories, we guarantee this suspenseful new drama will keep you on your toes. Considering the inspiration behind the story and Cross’ thrilling work on Luther, we’re certain The Sister will be a nail-biting watch over its four episodes.  

And as for another Luther movie? Cross simply says, “ask Idris.” 

We’re very much looking forward to the delicious twists and turns Carvel describes, and with plenty of intense emotional scenes taking place in the wet, dark woods, The Sister is set to be the perfect drama to tune into this Autumn. Watch the first episode on Monday 26th October at 9pm on ITV, and will broadcast over the following three nights at the same time until Thursday 29th October. Want more drama? Find out what’s coming up on ITV