delia balmer

It’s a particularly good time at the moment if you’re a fan of dramas based on real events: from the BBC’s The Gold to HBO’s The Whitehouse Plumbers and the Netflix series about the Prince Andrew scandal, there’s an abundance of shows telling compelling true life stories at the moment. ITV’s following up shows like Nolly and Litvinenko with a new four-part true crime series based on the story of Delia Balmer, who was in a relationship with a serial killer, John Sweeney, and was almost his next victim.

The show currently has a working title of simply “Delia Balmer”, and will explore how Delia met the man who she would one day discover had killed two former girlfriends, leading to a near-fatal attack.

The miniseries certainly has some pretty strong acting talent onboard, with BAFTA winner Anna Maxwell Martin, who just recently appeared in ITV’s A Spy Amongst Friends, playing the lead role of Balmer. Opposite her is Endeavour star Shaun Evans portraying Sweeney, and the series is being scripted by writer Nick Stevens (In Plain Sight, The Pembrokeshire Murders). Further casting is set to be announced closer to the series release.

The series is based on Balmer’s book about the ordeal, Living With A Serial Killer, and it’ll be told from her perspective. The book recounts how she was living a routine and solitary life in the early 90s when she met Sweeney in a local pub, and they both seem to form an immediate connection. Delia feels like she’s met a kindred spirit since he maintains an anti-establishment and arty persona and they eventually move in together.

However, his free spirit appearance begins to fall away, and Delia is slowly exposed to the real John Sweeney. When he eventually violently attacks Delia several times, he reveals that he had killed his former girlfriend and disposed of her body.

Though Sweeney is arrested, he’s later granted bail, and Balmer ends up encountering him several more times, and her journey of survival through torment is told through the rest of the book and now series. Simon Heath, executive producer on the drama commented: “Delia’s story is a unique and powerful one of a woman who survived terrible violence at the hands of a man who should never have been free to commit his heinous crimes.

Delia’s story shines a light on the failings of the legal system to deal with male violence against women and so sadly still resonates today.” There’s no definite release date for the four-parter, but filming begins this month and it will likely release on ITV1 and ITVX by the end of the year.

Can’t wait for ITV’s Delia Balmer? Check out the latest streaming releases here

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