29 March 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
ITV commissions adaptation of Graham Norton's bestselling novel, Holding; Port Pictures' Martina Niland to Produce
20 May 2021 : Nathan Griffin
Writer and TV presenter Graham Norton.
ITV has commissioned a four-part drama adaptation based upon Graham Norton’s funny and tenderly perceptive debut novel, Holding, which will be filmed on location in Ireland.

Starring Northern Irish actor Conleth Hill in the leading role, the series will be directed by Kathy Burke, written by Dominic Treadwell-Collins and Karen Cogan, and produced by Happy Prince, part of ITV Studios, and Martina Niland for Port Pictures, in association with Screen Ireland.

The series already has a strong Irish contingent involved across the production with Martina Niland producing and Cork writer Karen Cogan adapting the series alongside Dominic Treadwell-Collins whose family heritage also originates from the Rebel county.

“I am thrilled to be working on this exciting project alongside these wonderful and talented individuals,”producer Martina Niland told IFTN, “and of course I am delighted to be in West Cork this summer to film!” 

Writer Karen Cogan added that “as a Cork woman, it’s especially lovely to be coming home to shoot with Irish cast and crew and this powerful team. The nuance and heart Graham captured in Holding really appealed to me and it’s been a pleasure to delve into these characters' lives to bring them to screen,”

Olivier award winning actor, Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones, Dublin Murders, Vienna Blood) will take the role of local 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, PJ is called to solve a serious crime for the first time in his career. PJ finally has to connect with the village he has tried hard to avoid.

“I’m looking forward to getting to work with Kathy, the cast and crew, Dominic and everyone at Happy Prince on bringing Graham’s brilliant characters and story to the screen,” said lead actor Conleth Hill.

Legendary talk show host and novelist, Graham Norton said he is “beyond excited” to see the story and characters he created in his debut novel being brought to the screen. “I love how the brilliant creative team have transformed my novel into something so rich and dramatic,” said Norton. “West Cork is ready for its close-up!!”

Set in the insular fictional village of Duneen, West Cork, on the edge of Ireland, a place with its own climate and rhythms, Holding will be directed by award winning actor, director and producer Kathy Burke.

“2021 is my 40th year working in the industry and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than directing Holding,” said director Kathy Burke. “It’s 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."

A story of love, secrets and loss, Holding, is a darkly comic tale which shrewdly observes the lives of its characters, each with frailties, complexities and pasts they’d rather keep hidden. The story is a murder mystery laced with dark comedy and centred around the minutiae of rural Irish life.

ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill has commissioned the series for the channel and will oversee production from the broadcaster’s perspective. “Graham’s wonderful book has been brilliantly brought to life by Dom and Karen. Conleth Hill is the perfect PJ, in what is a funny and well observed look at life in a small rural Irish community,” Hill added. “It’s testament to the strength of those scripts that Kathy Burke is directing and it will be exciting to see her bring this adaptation to screen.” 

Holding will be adapted from Graham Norton’s debut novel, Holding, by Dominic Treadwell-Collins and Karen Cogan for Dominic’s ITV Studios company, Happy Prince. The show will be produced by Martina Niland (Once, Sing Street) for Port Pictures. 

“It’s so exciting to be able to bring Graham’s beautiful novel to the screen with the creative powerhouses that are Kathy Burke and Karen Cogan, with the brilliant Martina Niland producing,” said Treadwell-Collins. “To be writing my first scripts alongside Karen and to film with Conleth and such a talented Irish cast and crew in West Cork - where my father was from and my family still are - makes this even more special.” 

Holding will be filmed in Ireland across the summer of 2021 with details of further casting released closer to the commencement of production. The series is in association with, and distributed internationally by, ITV Studios. 

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