Is Vigil based on a true story?

29 August 2021, 19:00

Is BBC's new thriller Vigil based on true events? Here's what we know about the plot...

If you’re looking for another thriller to get your teeth stuck into, the makers of Line of Duty and Bodyguard are back with brand new series Vigil.

The drama follows DCI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) who is tasked with solving a suspicious death on-board a Royal Navy submarine, the HMS Vigil.

Set against the backdrop of Scotland’s nuclear deterrent, the mission soon becomes an attempt to uncover a dark conspiracy.

But is Vigil based on a true story? Here’s what we know…

The characters in Vigil are not real
The characters in Vigil are not real. Picture: BBC

Is Vigil based on a true story?

No, Vigil is not based on a true story, it is entirely fictional.

But it is based on the real life UK nuclear programme known as the ‘Continuous At Sea Deterrent’ or ‘Trident’.

Since 1969, there has permanently been a Royal Navy ballistic missile submarine at sea armed with strategic nuclear missiles.

According to the Ministry of Defence, these submarines act to "deter the most extreme threats to our national security and way of life, which cannot be done by other means".

The series was created by Tom Edge, who has said: “The ‘Continuous At Sea Deterrent’, better known as ‘Trident’, has been a contentious part of national life for half a century now, a stock of nuclear missiles kept hundreds of feet below the sea surface.

HMS Vigil is not a real submarine
HMS Vigil is not a real submarine. Picture: BBC

“But this world has rarely been explored on screen. I can’t wait to take a BBC One audience down with us, into the pitch-black icy waters of the unseen Atlantic, where tomorrow’s geopolitical struggles are already being played out.”

Filmed in Scotland, it starts with the mysterious disappearance of a fishing trawler and a death on-board a Trident nuclear submarine.

DCI Amy Silva leads the investigation, with the synopsis stating: “This leads an investigation on land and at sea into a conspiracy that threatens the very heart of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.”

Line of Duty’s Martin Compston is also starring in Vigil as Craig Burke, a serving member of the Royal Navy.

Actress Suranne Jones added: “Tom Edge has created a thrill of a story, set in a world I knew nothing about.

“Amy Silva is a brilliantly complex character, thrown into a highly charged situation where her authority is weakened.

“We watch as she navigates her own personal trauma and loss, all at a time when she’s questioning her relationships and life choices. It feels fresh and relevant.”