Holding: Kathy Burke on what finally made her say 'yes' to directing the Graham Norton adaptation

Virgin Radio

14 Mar 2022, 14:37

Credit: Getty / ITV

Credit: Getty / ITV

Kathy Burke is the directing brains behind the new ITV series Holding, based on the bestselling novel by Graham Norton, but it almost didn’t happen. 

Holding, which starts tonight (14th March), is the first fictional TV series Kathy has directed since 2009’s Horne & Corden, and she usually turns down being behind the camera for the small screen in favour of the theatre. 

During a Q+A with virginradio.co.uk and others, Kathy was quizzed on why she said yes to directing this particular project. 

She explained: “I say no to telly directing, I’m predominately a theatre director. And that's what I love and what I've been doing mostly for 20 years. I've always sort of said no to any TV projects coming in. But because of the pandemic and because of lockdown. I'd listened to the book. I've listened to Graham reading Holding during lockdown. 

“Then my manager got in touch and said: ‘Alright, [Producer] Dominic Treadwell-Collins wants you to, you know, have a look at this TV project. I said no, immediately. And then I said: ‘What is it?’ And he said: ‘It’s Holding by Graham Norton’.

It was that which peaked Kathy’s interest, and from there, her decision was made. 

She continued: “They said: ‘It's quite different what they're doing, they're making more of the women.’ And I immediately said: ‘Well, that's great, but hopefully not to the detriment of PJ.’

“And I thought, oh I remember the character's name. And it was the year before that I listened to the book. I was curious. It was curiosity that killed the cat.”

The cast list includes Game of Thrones star Conleth Hill and Derry Girls’ Siobhan McSweeney, and with Graham’s work and EastEnders' Dominic already on board, the decision was then made for the originally hesitant comedy star.

Kathy added: “It just made me very, very chuffed that these were the people that Dominic wanted from the off and that was it. That's what pulled me in actually. I'd be foolish to say no to this.”

In the comedy-drama, Conleth plays the leading role of local police officer Sergeant PJ Collins, who has to solve the first serious crime in his entire career when long-lost local legend Tommy Burke is found dead.

With the first episode, the opening synopsis reads: “When human remains are found in a sleepy Irish village, Sergeant PJ Collins finally has a genuine crime to solve. As the gruesome discovery ripples through the community, it threatens to expose a lifetime of secrets.”

Main suspects in the fictional Irish village of Duneen, West Cork, include Siobhán's character Brid, who was due to marry Tommy before his disappearance, and Evelyn Ross, played by Peaky Blinders star Charlene McKenna, who was desperately in love with him. 

Holding begins tonight (Monday 14th March) at 9pm on ITV and ITV Hub.