New ITV Head of Drama Polly Hill has greenlit four dramas for the broadcasters.
Trauma by Mike Bartlett, Girlfriends by Kay Mellor, White Dragon by Mark Denton and Jonny Stockwood and Next of Kin by Paul Rutman and Natasha Narayan will each begin filming in 2017.

Mike Bartlett’s (Doctor Foster, The Town, Charles III) new project is set in the Trauma department of a central London hospital. The three-part drama tells the story of 15 year old Alex Reynolds who dies under the care of high-achieving trauma consultant Jon Stephens.
Devastated and heartbroken, Alex’s father, Dan, believes Jon is responsible for Alex’s death and as he strives for justice, he begins to unpick the very fabric of Jon’s life. Are Dan’s concerns about how Jon cared for his son in his hour of need justified or are his actions borne of overpowering grief?  Trauma questions what makes a man good and explores the idea that sometimes the very institutions established to protect us can let us down.
Bartlett said: “Trauma is a story about two fathers with very different lives, locked in conflict. I hope the series will be moving, terrifying and timely…If we increasingly mistrust institutions and experts, what happens when we desperately need them?"
Trauma is produced by Tall Story Pictures, the newly created ITV Studios label founded by Creative Director Francis Hopkinson and Executive Producer Catherine Oldfield. Hopkinson will executive produce the new series with Oldfield, who has developed Trauma with Mike Bartlett, producing the drama. ITV Studios GE is responsible for international distribution.
Trauma will begin filming in early summer 2017 in the London area.
Written and created by Kay Mellor (In the Club, The Syndicate, Fat Friends), Girlfriends focuses on Linda, Sue and Gail, each pushing 60 and struggling to cope with what life has to throw at them.
Whilst enjoying a celebratory anniversary cruise, Linda’s husband Micky disappears from their cabin. He’s been hitting the booze hard at the Captain’s table and when he heads back to his cabin on the pretext of finding his glasses Micky is nowhere to be seen.  With the balcony door open, an overturned chair and the curtain billowing aimlessly in the wind, has Micky committed suicide? Or has he accidentally toppled into the sea having consumed one too many cocktails?
Sue is still a fine looking woman.  She’s never married but has spent the last 30 years in an affair with bridal magazine editor, John, who is also the father of her lawyer son, Andrew.  What happens when John takes a shine to younger model Stacey and wants to promote her into Sue’s job as Features Editor? In spite of her wealth of editorial experience and extensive contacts, will Stacey usurp Sue?  How can Sue retain her professionalism, her dignity and the respect she so richly deserves when John is trying to force her out?  She’s given the best years of her life to John and with her significant birthday looming will Sue be able to dig her killer heels in at Adorable magazine?
Gail, on the other hand, has received her decree nisi from second husband Dave.  She has six weeks and a day to win him back before the divorce becomes absolute, but can Gail switch focus from wayward son Tom and grandson Ben to concentrate on saving her marriage? Particularly as Tom is newly released from prison, tagged, and needs her help getting his life back on track.
The six part series will be produced by Kay Mellor’s production company Rollem Productions and will be filmed in Leeds, York and Harrogate.  Filming is due to commence during the summer of 2017. Kay Mellor will direct the series with Yvonne Francas producing.
Mellor said:  “Girlfriends is a topic that’s dear to my heart being a woman of a certain age. I did a conference recently where there were a lot of women saying that they felt invisible, both in life and on screen. There was nothing on television that they could relate to; older women were playing characters that were mothers or grandmothers of the main protagonists. So I wanted to change things around a bit and put them centre stage – to make the invisible, visible.”
White Dragon
Conspiracy thriller White Dragon, written by screenwriting newcomers Mark Denton and Jonny Stockwood, has been commissioned for ITV from Two Brothers Pictures, the drama indie established by writers and producers, Harry and Jack Williams (The Missing, Fleabag, One of Us).  The eight part series will be filmed during the autumn of 2017 on location in Asia.
Professor Jonah Mulray’s life is turned upside-down when his wife, Megan, is killed in a car-crash in Hong Kong. Although she lived and worked there half the year, Jonah’s never been. He lives a small, sheltered life, and his fear of flying has kept him in London. But now he has no choice but to cross the ocean to identify the body of the woman he loved.
Not long after arriving in Hong Kong, Jonah makes a shocking discovery about his wife. Over the course of eight thrilling hours, Jonah is drawn deeper and deeper into a web of conspiracy as he comes to terms with this utterly alien and unfamiliar environment, battling to uncover the truth about his wife’s death.
Next of Kin
Contemporary family thriller Next of Kin will be produced by Mammoth Screen.

The six-part series is written and created by husband and wife team Paul Rutman (Indian Summers, Vera) and Natasha Narayan.

Whip-smart psychologist Mona Mirza lives a charmed life at the heart of a loving family living in London. But she is left grief-stricken when her much-loved brother is brutally murdered whilst working for a medical charity overseas. As the death brings buried family secrets to light, Mona is drawn deep into a tangle of betrayal, conspiracy and murder. One way or another, she must find a way of protecting herself, her family and her career as they are all put at risk… 

The series will be executive produced by Mammoth Screen’s Preethi Mavahalli (Tripped, NW) and MD Damien Timmer. Casting and key production roles will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Staff Reporter

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