Skip to main content

Irvine Welsh’s 'Crime' — release date, cast, plot, trailer and all you need to know

Dougray Scott
Irvine Welsh's 'Crime' stars Dougray Scott. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Best-selling author Irvine Welsh has seen a few of his novels adapted for the big screen, most notably Trainspotting which became the cult 1990s hit starring Ewan McGregor. 

Now the Scottish author has adapted his 2008 novel Crime into a six-part drama series for the on-demand service BritBox, making it the first of his books to be adapted for TV. 

Here’s what we know so far about Irvine Welsh thriller Crime…

Crime release date…

The series went into production at the end of April, with filming to take place in Edinburgh and Glasgow for at least 12 weeks. It’s scheduled to premiere on BritBox in the latter part of 2021 when it will be exclusively available to UK subscribers. We’ll make sure we post the start date as soon as we know more. We'll also update with its American broadcaster and start date in due course.

On Amazon Prime Video Channels

Britbox is the No. 1 way to watch all your favorite British shows from the BBC and ITV. And you can watch it easily via Amazon Prime Video Channels. All your subscription and billing is handled through your Amazon account, allowing you to watch as much as you want for a single price.View Deal

What is Irving Welsh drama Crime about?

All that has been released about the crime thriller is that it’s set in Edinburgh and it follows DI Ray Lennox (Dougray Scott), who is investigating the disappearance of a schoolgirl while battling his own personal demons. The novel is actually a sequel to 1998’s Filth in which Ray is a supporting character and the plot is a bit different to what we’ve been told…

Irvine Walsh

Irvine Welsh has adapted his novel Crime for BritBox. (Image credit: Alamy)

What happens in the book Crime by Irvine Welsh?

In the novel, DI Ray Lennox is on holiday in Florida with his fiancée Trudi as he recovers from a mental breakdown brought on by stress, drug and alcohol abuse and a traumatic murder case involving a young girl in Edinburgh. In the Sunshine State, he ends up rescuing a sexually-abused 10-year-old girl and protecting her from a paedophile ring.

The cast of Crime includes Dougray Scott, Ken Stott and Angela Griffin…

Angela Griffin

Angela Griffin is among the cast of Crime. (Image credit: PA Images)

There’s a great cast in Crime with Dougray Scott heading it as DI Ray Lennox. In his early career, the actor starred in TV dramas such Taggart, Lovejoy and Soldier Soldier, but some of his bigger roles include rogue secret agent Sean Ambrose in the 2000 film Mission: Impossible 2 and Ian Hainsworth, love interest of Susan (Teri Hatcher), in the US drama Desperate Housewives

He’s also appeared in the films Deep Impact (1998), Ever After (1998) and Enigma (2001) as well as TV dramas such as The Replacement (2017)  and The Woman in White (2018).

Angela Griffin, whose credits include Coronation Street, Holby City and Harlots, plays Ray’s fiancée Trudi Lowe. Meanwhile, Ken Stott, who’s best known for starring in TV crime dramas Messiah and Rebus, as well as playing dwarf Balin in The Hobbit film trilogy, stars as Chief Superintendent Bob Toal. 

The cast also includes Joanna Vanderham (Warrior, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) as DS Amanda Drummond, and James Sives (Guilt, Too Close) as Detective Inspector Dougie Gillman. 

Ken Stott

Irvine Welsh's Crime: Ken Stott plays Chief Superintendent Bob Toal.  (Image credit: PA Images)

The Crime crew…

Crime is being produced by David Blair for Buccaneer Media and Off Grid Film and TV. His previous credits include Jimmy McGovern’s ITV drama Accused and the BBC1 drama anthology The Street. The director is James Strong, who’s previously worked on Vanity Fair, Liar and Broadchurch.

"I’m thrilled to be starting production on this dramatic execution of Irvine’s brilliant novel," says James. "With a great cast in place we’re working together to create a classy work of pathos and genuine emotional quality which is grounded in gritty realism. Viewers can expect a dark, visceral, shocking ride."

Irvine Welsh has adapted Crime for TV alongside his long-standing screenwriting partner Dean Cavanagh. Together, they have written the stage play Babylon Heights, the C4 film Wedding Belles and most recently Creation Stories, a film about Alan McGee, the founder of independent record label Creation Records. 

The executive producers are Irvine Welsh, Dean Cavanagh, Dougray Scott, Tony Wood, Richard Tulk-Hart, Pamela Hansson and James Strong.

A brief guide to Irvine Welsh…

Irvine Welsh

Edinburgh-born Irvine Welsh has written 11 novels. (Image credit: Alamy)

Irvine Welsh was born in Leith, the port area of Edinburgh. When he was 16, Welsh left school and became an apprentice TV repairman, but after having an electric shock he decide to explore other areas of employment. 

In 1978, Welsh moved to London and became involved in the punk scene, joining bands called The Pubic Lice and Stairway 13. 

Welsh later worked for Hackney London Borough Council in London and studied computing before returning to Edinburgh to work for the city council in the housing department. He then studied for an MBA at Heriot-Watt University. 

Welsh has published eleven novels and four collections of short stories. His work often features a Scots dialect and a brutal depiction of Edinburgh life. He has also written plays and screenplays, and directed several short films. 

His first novel Trainspotting was published in 1993 and follows the exploits of Renton, Begbie, Sick Boy and Spud, a group of friends bound together by addiction and frequent attempts to escape the boredom and brutality of their lives in housing schemes in Edinburgh. 

The characters also featured in the prequel novel Skagboys (2012), The Blade Artist (2016) and Welsh’s most recent novel Dead Man’s Trousers (2018). 

Other adaptations of Irvine Welsh's novels… 

Crime may be the first of Welsh's novels to be made into a TV series, but some of his other books have been adapted into films…

1. Trainspotting (1996)

Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting

Ewan McGregor as Mark 'Rent Boy' Renton in 'Trainspotting'.  (Image credit: Alamy)

Regarded as one of the best films of the 1990s, this comedy drama was directed by Danny Boyle and it stars Ewan McGregor, who had appeared in Boyle’s 1994 directorial debut, Shallow Grave. John Hodge wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay based on Welsh’s 1993 novel of the same name. It follows a group of heroin addicts, including Mark ‘Rent Boy’ Renton (McGregor), Daniel ‘Spud’ Murphy (Ewan Bremner) and Simon ‘Sick Boy’ Williamson (Jonny Lee Miller), in an economically depressed area of Edinburgh. 

The cast also includes Line of Duty star Kelly Macdonald in her breakout role as Mark’s underage girlfriend, Diane, plus Keith Allen, Robert Carlyle and Shirley Henderson. Welsh appeared in the minor role of drug dealer Mikey Forrester. The soundtrack, which included Lust for Life by Iggy Pop and Born Slippy by Underworld, featured on two top-selling albums. 

2. The Acid House (1998)

The Acid House

Maurice Roëves and Stephen McCole in The Acid House. (Image credit: Alamy)

Welsh wrote the screenplay of this film which dramatises three tales from his short story collection The Acid House (1994). In The Granton Star Cause, a pitiless and profane God (Maurice Roëves) transforms Boab (Stephen McCole) into a fly as punishment for wasting his life. The next segment, A Soft Touch, stars Kevin McKidd as cuckolded husband Johnny, whose neighbour Larry (Garry McCormack) steals his wife, Catriona (Michelle Gomez). In the final part of the film, The Acid House, an acid trip and a bolt of lightning see Coco Brice (Ewan Bremner swap bodies with the baby of middle-class couple Rory (Martin Clunes) and Jenny (Jemma Redgrave). The film’s depiction of a cynical foul-mouthed God caused outrage in the UK’s tabloid press.

3. Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy (2011)

Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy

Kristin Kreuk and Adam Sinclair in Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy. (Image credit: Alamy)

This Canadian independent film is an adaptation of the short story The Undefeated from Welsh’s book Ecstasy, which was published in 1996. Canadian actress, Kristin Kreuk, who’s best known for playing Lana Lang in Smallville, stars as Heather Thompson who escapes a loveless marriage and finds romance with drug user Lloyd Buist (Adam Sinclair). But as they spend most of their time under the influence of illegal substances, the couple begin to question their relationship. Is it based on true feelings or fuelled by drugs? Scottish actor Sinclair is known for his roles in C4’s teen drama As If and the US crime drama Rizzoli & Isles.

4. Filth (2013)

James McAvoy

James McAvoy as DS Bruce Robertson in Filth. (Image credit: Alamy)

Welsh’s 1998 novel Filth which follows a deeply unpleasant detective in Edinburgh was deemed "unfilmable" as various projects to turn it into a movie fell to the wayside, so it was 15 years before this adaptation hit the big screen. James McAvoy stars as DS Bruce Robertson, who spends his free time indulging in drugs, alcohol, unhealthy sexual relationships and hatching vindictive plots to cause trouble for the people he despises. 

As the story begins, Bruce is focused on being promoted to Detective Inspector but as he works on a murder case he slowly loses his grip on reality and has a series of increasingly vivid hallucinations. As revelations about his private life come to the surface, there’s a series of shocking events which cause Bruce to miss out on the promotion, while rookie Ray Lennox (Jamie Bell) is promoted to Detective Inspector. The character of Ray Lennox is the main protagonist of Welsh’s 2008 novel Crime and will be played by Dougray Scott in the upcoming adaptation of the sequel.

5. T2 Trainspotting (2017)

T2 Trainspotting

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in T2 Trainspotting.  (Image credit: Alamy)

The Trainspotting cast reprised their roles for this sequel with Danny Boyle returning as director and John Hodge writing the screenplay based on the characters created by Welsh in his original 1993 novel and its 2002 follow-up Porno. It begins 20 years after Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) stole £8000 in drug money from his friends to make a new life for himself in Amsterdam. Now drug-free for almost two decades, Mark is on the verge of divorce and faces being made redundant when he suffers a heart attack. Once recovered, he decides to take a nostalgic trip back to Edinburgh, but as he reunites with ‘Spud’ (Ewan Bremner) and ‘Sick Boy’ (Jonny Lee Miller), Begbie (Robert Carlisle) is determined to get his long-awaited revenge…

On Amazon Prime Video Channels

Britbox is the No. 1 way to watch all your favorite British shows from the BBC and ITV. And you can watch it easily via Amazon Prime Video Channels. All your subscription and billing is handled through your Amazon account, allowing you to watch as much as you want for a single price.View Deal