Confessions of Frannie Langton: Everything we know about ITV drama filmed in Hull

The historic streets of Hull are once again playing their part in a new period drama, The Confessions of Frannie Langton.

Described as a brilliantly searing depiction of race, class, and oppression, the ITV murder mystery has been written and adapted for the screen by the author, Sara Collins, who won the Costa first novel award in 2019 for the haunting tale.

An area of the High Street in Hull’s Old Town has been transformed into Georgian-era London, with filming taking place this week.

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ITV drama commissioner Chloe Tucker said she was delighted that Sara had adapted her fantastic novel for ITV.

She said: “Frannie is a character who immediately gets under your skin, and via a twisting and turning whodunnit Sara explores our history with slavery in the UK.



Hull's Old Town is helping to portray Georgian-era London in The Confessions of Frannie Langton
Hull’s Old Town is helping to portray Georgian-era London in The Confessions of Frannie Langton

“The Confessions of Frannie Langton is an exciting and compelling drama that will hook and surprise the audience.”

What else do we know about The Confessions of Frannie Langton?

What is The Confessions of Frannie Langton about?

Set against the dazzling opulence of Georgian London, The Confessions of Frannie Langton narrates Frannie’s journey from a Jamaican plantation to the grand Mayfair mansion of celebrated scientist George Benham and his exquisitely beautiful wife, Madame Marguerite Benham.

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In a misguided and monstrous gesture Frannie is gifted to Benham by the man who owns her, John Langton, and she is employed as a maid in the household, much to her chagrin.

As the plot twists and turns, events take a fateful turn as the Benhams are found murdered in their beds, with Frannie lying next to Marguerite. Frannie is accused of murder; a murder she has no recollection of, other than she couldn’t possibly have killed her mistress because she was devoted to her.

Dragged away to prison, Frannie attempts to piece together the events of that night. She is deep into a laudanum addiction and unable to recall what happened.

Will Frannie recall the haunting events of that night? All she knows is she loved Marguerite passionately and cannot believe she would have hurt her. But if not Frannie, who did commit the double murder? Others have motive, but only Frannie is accused and she will hang if found guilty. What hope does she have of clearing her name?

Who is starring in the drama?



Sophie Cookson plays Madame Marguerite Benham in the ITV period drama
Sophie Cookson plays Madame Marguerite Benham in the ITV period drama

Karla-Simone Spence (Blue Story, Wannabe) leads the cast in the role of Frannie Langton, the drama’s young protagonist born into a life of slavery who is fighting to tell her own story.

She is joined by Sophie Cookson (The Trial of Christine Keeler, Kingsman: The Secret Service) as Madame Marguerite Benham and Patrick Martins (Redemption, Blasts From The Past) as Laddie Lightning and in the line-up for the murder mystery drama.

Also set to star in the historically authentic adaptation is Stephen Campbell Moore (War of The Worlds, The One) as renowned scientist and husband to Madame, George Benham. Joining him is Steven MacIntosh (Rocketman, Wanderlust) as John Langton and Henry Pettigrew (The Danish Girl, The Aftermath) as William Pettigrew.

How many episodes will there be and when will they be on TV?

The series is being filmed to be shown in four parts; it is not yet known when the drama will hit the ITV schedule but early 2022 has been mooted.

Who wrote the original story?



Sara Collins, author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton
Sara Collins, author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton

The Confessions of Frannie Langton is Sara Collins’ debut novel. She said: “For so long I’ve wondered why we never see period dramas featuring black protagonists that also happen to be ‘whodunnits’, love stories or juicy, addictive dramas, rather than stories of victimhood.

“It’s an absolute dream come true to be collaborating with Drama Republic and ITV on adapting Frannie for television, even more meaningful because I hope it will be all of those things, and because I know how powerful it is to see yourself represented on-screen in fresh stories that stamp all over stale old stereotypes.”

What are the writer’s thoughts on the cast of TV characters?

Sara Collins said: “So many authors write with their dream cast in mind so I was delighted at our table read to discover that ITV and the producers and director had assembled mine.

“This is an electric cast and I can’t wait to see their work. Every moment of watching them prepare their performances has been wonderful.”

What does the lead actor think about her role as Frannie Langton?



Karla-Simone Spence plays the lead role of Frannie in the ITV period drama series, The Confessions of Frannie Langton
Karla-Simone Spence plays the lead role of Frannie in the ITV period drama series, The Confessions of Frannie Langton

Karla-Simone Spence, who plays Frannie Langton, said: “It’s an absolute honour and dream to bring to life the intelligent, forward thinking, resilient woman that is Frannie Langton.

“Her journey truly is extraordinary and that’s all thanks to Sara Collins’ incredible writing of three-dimensional women.

“I hold Frannie dear to my heart and I’m really looking forward to unleashing her with Andrea Harkin and our talented cast.”

Who did ITV commission to produce the period drama?

The drama is produced by Drama Republic and adapted by author and writer Sara Collins from her breath-taking debut novel of the same name.

ITV’s head of drama, Polly Hill and ITV drama commissioner Chloe Tucker commissioned the series, which will be produced by Carol Harding (Unsaid Stories, My Name Is Leon, Agatha And The Curse of Ishtar) and directed by Andrea Harkin (The Trial of Christine Keeler).

The powerful, evocative drama will be executive produced by Greg Brenman (The Honourable Woman, Us, Peaky Blinders), Rebecca de Souza and Sara Collins.



The Confessions of Frannie Langton is Sara Collins' debut novel
The Confessions of Frannie Langton is Sara Collins’ debut novel

The Confessions of Frannie Langton is Drama Republic’s first ITV commission.

Greg Brenman and Rebecca de Souza said: “The minute we read Sara’s book our hearts started racing…what an amazing character she had created in Frannie! We desperately wanted to bring her to the screen.

“We’re so delighted to be working with this astonishingly talented first time writer on this brilliant story, which had us hooked from the outset, and thrilled to be working with an ensemble of established, emerging and brand-new talent.

“With the brilliant Andrea Harkin directing, we couldn’t be happier.”