ITV adaptation of Graham Norton novel Holding to film in Ireland this summer

Screen Ireland has backed the ‘darkly comic’ four-parter directed by Kathy Burke

Graham Norton: ‘West Cork is ready for its close-up!’ Photograph: Christopher Baines/So Television

Graham Norton: ‘West Cork is ready for its close-up!’ Photograph: Christopher Baines/So Television


A four-part television adaptation of Graham Norton’s first novel Holding will be filmed in Ireland this summer after ITV commissioned the series with financial support from Screen Ireland.

The “darkly comic” series will feature Game of Thrones star Conleth Hill in the lead role of west Cork police officer Sergeant PJ Collins, “a gentle mountain of a man, who hides from people and fills his days with comfort food and half-hearted police work”.

When the body of long-lost local legend Tommy Burke is discovered, he is called to solve a serious crime for the first time in his career and connect with the village he has tried hard to avoid.

Holding, set in the insular fictional village of Duneen in west Cork, was the best-selling novel by an Irish writer in the Irish market on its publication in 2016 and again in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to see the story and characters I created being brought to the screen. I love how the brilliant creative team have transformed my novel into something so rich and dramatic,” said Mr Norton, who is from Bandon, Co Cork.

“West Cork is ready for its close-up!”

The television and radio presenter, who will commentate on the BBC’s Eurovision coverage this weekend, has since published two further novels, A Keeper and Home Stretch.

The adaptation of Holding will be directed by acclaimed actor, director and producer Kathy Burke, who described it as “a beautiful piece of writing with a great story and fantastic, full-bodied characters”.

“All this with glorious west Cork as its setting proved irresistible.”

Production details

The novel will be adapted by Dominic Treadwell-Collins and Karen Cogan, and produced by Happy Prince, part of ITV Studios, and Martina Niland for Irish production company Port Pictures, in association with Screen Ireland.

Ms Niland and her company Port Pictures previously served among the producers of films such as Once, Sing Street and Wild Mountain Thyme.

Further casting details and broadcast dates for the series has yet to be confirmed. It will be distributed internationally by ITV Studios, suggesting that the Irish broadcaster will likely be Virgin Media Television, which has an output deal with the subsidiary of British broadcaster ITV.

Holding marks the latest foray into television funding for Screen Ireland (Fís Éireann), the State agency previously known as the Irish Film Board.

Andrew Byrne, Screen Ireland’s TV project manager, said the organisation was “delighted to support this major new TV drama”.

“We are very ambitious for the growth of our TV drama slate which has quadrupled in size in the last year and we look forward to growing this further.”