Created by writer Chris Lang, the gripping six-part series Unforgotten returned to our screens for a second season last week and features a new story, starting with the discovery of a body found in a sealed suitcase in the Rive Lea.
With the body preserved but clearly having been there a number of years, DCI Cassie Stuart, played by Nicola Walker and DI Sunny Khan, played by Sanjeev Bhaskar, begin the complicated task of identifying the victim and investigating his murder.
While Walker is no stranger to the series, she said returning to the set for the second season after time had passed made her nervous, but after a few days, she was back in character, ready to take on the season.
'Being Bonang' not returning for second season
“I was very nervous. Our director, Andy Wilson, was aware that the gap between series means it’s not (possible) to walk straight back in just because you’re wearing the correct costume. Also, because I had got the impression people really liked the show, your adrenalin is up for the first few days. You hope you can serve it as well second time round,” said Walker.
She said that although these cases happened more than a quarter of a century ago, it matters to Cassie because from experience she knows that behind this there are going to probably be children, wives, lovers and parents who have grieved.
“It’s good to be mindful of how connected Cassie and Sunny are to the individuals in the case. It’s not an everyday occurrence finding a skeleton in a suitcase in a river. Once they find out who this person is, it begins a chain of events, and the first thing is usually the knock at the door of someone who really doesn’t want to see them and hear what they are going to say,” said Walker.
This season will see a new cast in the series who work among the remaining regulars, Walker and Bhaskar. Walker said that, although new, each person had no choice but to get into the role immediately.
“We have completely new people, all bringing their best game with them. Because of the nature of the story they have to come in at a pitch, and they all do.
"These new characters are all in very different places with very different stories and backgrounds. But once that skeleton of someone who went missing in 1990 is uncovered, it throws them all into crisis. So they’re straight in from day one,” Walker said.
In a new development, viewers will start to learn more about how Cassie and Sunny’s relationship works.
“I was interested in how the writer, Chris Land, had created these two people who are intimate in a working way. They know each other incredibly well and rely on each other. They feel very safe with each other. This season they have a disagreement. In other working environments maybe it wouldn’t be quite as complicated. But for them it’s fundamental, they are drawing a line about how you punish… they come at it from very different ends of the argument. They are absolutely in opposition to each other,” she said.
Aside from the storyline, Walker said that she was taken with the beauty of the striking locations and sets.
“I like the River Lea location in the first episode. It’s just brilliant. You walk on to the set and it looks exactly how you imagined it would, and people have been working there since 4am to make it look as real as it can, so that you step in and it’s all utterly believable.
"We also spend some time in Brighton. It was wonderful to take them (our characters) out of the environment we’ve been used to seeing them in. The Cotswolds were beautiful, too. It felt unreal, like the whole place was a set, so beautiful and perfect,” she said.
* Catch Nicola Walker in Unforgotten Season 2, Fridays at 8pm on BBC First (DStv Channel 119).