Is The Long Call based on a true story?

25 October 2021, 18:41

The Long Call stars Ben Aldridge and Anita Dobson
The Long Call stars Ben Aldridge and Anita Dobson. Picture: ITV

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Is ITV's The Long Call real and is it based on true events? Here's what we know...

The Long Call is the brand new ITV drama airing this autumn.

It tells the story of Detective Inspector Matthew Venn, who has returned to live in North Devon after the death of his dad.

The detective grew up in the Church of the Brethren, but his family turned his back on him when he came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Long Call is airing on ITV this autumn
The Long Call is airing on ITV this autumn. Picture: ITV

Venn is thrown straight into a murder case after a body of a man is found on the beach, putting the spotlight on the whole community.

But is The Long Call based on a true story and what happens in the book? Here’s what we know?

Is ITV’s The Long Call based on a true story?

The Long Call is not based on a true story, but it is adapted from a novel of the same name by writer Ann Cleeves.

It is the first book in the Two Rivers series, with Ann also inspiring popular shows such as Vera and Shetland.

The Church of the Brethren is a real religious group, however, the characters aren’t real.

Anita Dobson is starring in The Long Call
Anita Dobson is starring in The Long Call. Picture: ITV

Writer Kelly Jones revealed she had spoken to a woman who was raised in a fundamentalist Christian church.

She said: "She told me the church was completely withdrawn from all aspects of modern life - no TV, no pop music, no trendy clothes, nothing ‘worldly’.

"Because their focus was always on the next life, the Second Coming.

"For her it had been a stifling and repressive life and she had run away, aged 18, in the middle of the night, with a bin bag full of clothes, and made her own way - totally alone.

"Her story fascinated me - that a woman my age could have had this experience, in my ordinary Somerset town in the late nineties, when my only concern was trying to get into the (single, terrible) local club."

Ben Aldridge plays Detective Inspector Matthew Venn in The Long Call
Ben Aldridge plays Detective Inspector Matthew Venn in The Long Call. Picture: ITV

She said Matthew's life closely is similar to the woman she met.

Despite the story not being based on true events, actor Ben Aldridge has spoken out about how he related to the character of Matthew.

He told Heart.co.uk and other media: “Things I’e encountered in my own family, the difficulty parents can have with gay children, these were very significant scenes for me to be doing and relating to.

“Sometimes our job is creative and we have to do research to gather tools to express and play that part, but this was very inward looking for me.”

The Long Call is not based on a true story
The Long Call is not based on a true story. Picture: ITV

He added: “It was very healing to be able to share that with other people in a work environment, it felt significant.”

Is The Long Call based on the book?

Yes, the show is based on the novel by writer Ann Cleeves which was released in 2019.

The Long Call was filmed in Bristol and the North Devon coast, where the series is set.