'Grace' star John Simm says: 'I could play the detective for the rest of my life!'

John Simm in Grace.
The sweeping skies and coastal scenery of Brighton form the backdrop for Grace. (Image credit: ITV)

We love a good whodunnit and John Simm hopes ITV's feature-length crime thriller about a troubled detective who’s haunted by the disappearance of his wife will be a favourite with viewers for years to come. 

Based on the bestselling novels of Peter James and adapted for the screen by Endeavour creator, Russell Lewis, Grace finds its title character at rock bottom and struggling to put the ghosts of his past behind him. 

Following another reprimand for his unorthodox police methods, DS Roy Grace has been left looking into long forgotten cold cases with little chance of success, yet is soon dragged into a sinister new investigation that could make or break his career. 

"If I could play Roy Grace for the rest of my life I would," says John. "I've read 10 of the novels and because there are some interesting storylines in his future. It’s funny because Peter James told me he pictured me when he was writing them and the way he’s described does sound a bit like me in the books, which is strange because I don’t picture myself when I read them!"

When a bridegroom disappears following a raucous stag night in Brighton, Grace’s former protege DS Glenn Branson is convinced his old friend could be the key to unlocking the mystery. Yet as the story unfolds, the mercurial detective finds himself unravelling a disturbing chain of events and getting uncomfortably close to the distressed bride-to-be. 

The riveting tale is based on Peter James first Roy Grace novel, Dead Simple, and was filmed last autumn under strict Covid protocols. There's a second helping of the ITV detective show due to hit our screens later in the year and with 17 novels —  and counting —  in Peter James' series, we could be seeing a lot more of this sleuth in the future... 

"I’d have been insane to say no to something like this and I love Endeavour, so when I saw Russell Lewis’ name I knew it would be special," explains John. "It's a character that already has millions of fans and I’d been stuck at home during lockdown for a long time, so when they called I was just really excited to get back to work!"


Richie Campbell plays Grace's partner, DS Glenn Branson. (Image credit: ITV)

"It was strange to be filming and look up to see everyone wearing masks, like in an operating theatre, but the guidelines the production team put in place worked because there were no cases on set," adds John Simm.

"I think everybody was just so aware of how lucky we were to be working and we were so careful because no one wanted to mess it up. We decided not to mention Covid in the drama, because it’s been the most depressing and boring year ever and we thought no one wanted to be reminded of that. There’s even a scene in a nightclub, which was like being on another planet!"

Grace airs on ITV on Sunday March 14 at 8pm.

Sean Marland

Sean is a Senior Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week, who also writes for whattowatch.com. He's been covering the world of TV for over 15 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are I'm Alan Partridge, The Wire, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.