Is Flesh and Blood based on a true story? Everything you need to know about the ITV drama plot

24 February 2020, 20:00 | Updated: 24 February 2020, 20:01

Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

ITV's four-part drama Flesh and Blood starts tonight, but is it based on a true story?

ITV’s new drama Flesh and Blood is a four-part drama which delves into a modern family as it spirals towards a tragedy.

Starring the likes of Russell Tovey and Imelda Staunton, it focuses on three children whose lives are thrown into disarray when their recently widowed mother Vivien declares she’s fallen for a new man.

But is the drama based on a true story, and what is the plot about?

Is Flesh and Blood based on a true story?

Writer and executive producer of Flesh and Blood, Sarah Williams told us that her series is not based on a true story.

Instead, she revealed she was inspired by her own family dynamics as one of six children.

Flesh and Blood is not a true story
Flesh and Blood is not a true story. Picture: ITV

She said: “It seems to me that families bring out the best and the worst in us. Our brothers and sisters can be our closest allies or our sworn enemies, often in the space of a heartbeat.”

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Opening up about how she came up with the storyline, Sarah said she started with main character Vivien (played by Francesca Annis) who is a recently-widowed mother who’s decided, after a lifetime of looking after her family, to put herself first for a change.

“This ruffles the feathers for her three chicks Helen, Jake and Natalie all of whom have trouble adjusting to this new version of their mother,” she revealed.

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“When Vivien’s new love Mark appears on the scene threatening to whisk Vivien away, the worried siblings join forces to check his background.

“So that was the meat and potatoes of my show, but it wasn’t until the family’s neighbour, Mary, elbowed her way into my script that I realised I had the gravy too and the story really took off.”

The series sees at least one person meet a grisly end, as Sarah went on: “I knew that someone’s life would be hanging in the balance from the very opening scene and we would flash back to find out how this perfectly nice family got to this terrible point.”

“So I started writing and trusted that my characters would show me the way - and indeed they took me firmly by the hand and led me to the conclusion I least expected. I had a lot of fun with the journey and I hope you do too.”

What is the plot of Flesh and Blood?

The series follows a family who is thrown into disarray when recent widow Vivien meets a new man called Mark.

As Vivien's three kids start to question their mother's 45-year marriage to their dad Terry, tragedy strikes and at least one person ends up dead.

According to ITV: "Years of secrets, lies, rivalries and betrayals come to the surface and threaten to blow apart everything they’ve held dear."

Adding another twist to the plot, Vivien's neighbour Mary takes an obsessive interest in the family and soon ends up in the centre of the drama.

Flesh and Blood is a four part drama
Flesh and Blood is a four part drama. Picture: ITV

Who is in the cast of Flesh and Blood?

The star-studded cast features Russell Tovey, Claudie Blakley and Lydia Leonard as siblings Jake, Helen and Natalie.

Francesca Annis plays their recently widowed mother, while her new love interest is played by Stephen Rea.

Imelda Staunton takes on the role as their nosy neighbour Mary.

Names such as Sharon Small, Lara Rossi, Keir Charles, Vincent Regan, David Bamber, Stephanie Langton and Clara Indrani also make an appearance.

When will Flesh and Blood air on ITV?

ITV announced Flesh and blood in July 2019 but it is yet to be given an air date. It’s expected to be out at some point towards the end of February or beginning of March.