i News: "BBC And ITV In Battle Over Rival British Nuclear Submarine Murder Dramas"


War Hero
"A race to surface on screens has been launched between BBC drama Vigil and Tenacity on ITV, dramas set within the cramped confines of a sub.

The BBC is locked in a naval battle with ITV over rival dramas centred around mysterious murders on a British nuclear submarine.

From The Enemy Below to The Hunt for Red October and Das Boot, screen epics have long exploited the claustrophobic tension inherent in vessels trawling the ocean’s depths.

Now a race to surface on screens has been launched between BBC drama Vigil and Tenacity on ITV, dramas set within the cramped confines of a nuclear submarine, which tell remarkably similar stories.

Suranne Jones, the Doctor Foster star, takes the lead in Vigil, created by World Productions, the producers of Line of Duty and Bodyguard.

It follows the mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler and a death onboard a Trident nuclear submarine, which brings the police into conflict with the Navy and British security services.

Jones plays DCI Amy Silva, who leads “an investigation on land and at sea into a conspiracy that threatens the very heart of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.”

Also a six-part series, Tenacity tells the story of the death of a submariner aboard a British nuclear submarine. Disgraced military detective Danielle Lewis is sent to investigate the accident.

When the case turns to murder it puts her in conflict with Tenacity's crew, her Navy superiors, and “into the crosshairs of an assassin who has infiltrated her nuclear base with an agenda that will not only destroy national security but kill Danielle and everyone she loves.”

The BBC has high hopes that Vigil, written by Tom Edge, who penned the Judy Garland biopic Judy, will repeat the success of Bodyguard.

The series shoots in Scotland with Rose Leslie and Line of Duty star Martin Compston signed up for roles. Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, said: “Vigil is a fantastic, adrenalised thriller set in a shadowy world which has stakes for us all.”

ITV believes that Tenacity, from screenwriter Peter A. Dowling, will emerge victorious. Polly Hill, ITV Head of Drama, said: “Peter has written an incredible script with a brilliant and complex heroine leading an investigation that genuinely surprises.”

She promised an “incredible drama, that promises to have an audience hooked from the start.”

Submarine direct hits

  • The Enemy Below (1957). The captain of an American destroyer in the South Atlantic tries to outwit a cunning German U-boat commander in taut drama, based on a true story.

  • Das Boot (1981). Wolfgang Petersen’s five-hour epic takes captain Jürgen Prochnow to the limit as he struggles to maintain morale up in the face of battles, storms, dwindling supplies and tedium. A TV spin-off followed.

  • The Hunt for Red October (1990). Cold War thriller adapted from Tom Clancy Jack Ryan novel found Sean Connery as a Soviet sub commander bent on defecting to the West - but can his intentions be trusted?

  • Crimson Tide (1995). The tension mounts in Tony Scott’s thriller as Gene Hackman’s Captain clashes with executive officer Denzel Washington over orders to fire nuclear missiles at a Russian nuclear facility."
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War Hero
Super Moderator
Crimson Tide is without doubt the worst of that list of films, Das Boot has got to be one of the best boat films ever made.


War Hero
After having been a submariner for real it is difficult to watch fictional TV programmes on the subject without trying to spot all the errors. Das Boot was exceptional but even that had a few things that raised a quizzicle eyebrow. I look forward to viewing both the series @soleil has been kind enough to draw to our attention.


War Hero
Super Moderator
I'm more or less banned from watching submarine movies at home, apart from the 50s B&W classics, for critiquing everything :)