Belfast Telegraph

Missing star James Nesbitt may return for second series of hit TV drama

By David Young

Speculation is mounting that actor James Nesbitt will return in a new series of The Missing to be screened next year.

The emotionally draining BBC thriller was about a man deranged by grief scouring Europe in a desperate hunt for his missing son Oliver after he was believed to have been abducted.

The puzzle for producers now will be how to bring Nesbitt's character into the second series, as the first ended with the conclusion that Oliver was in fact dead from the outset.

Viewers discovered at the end of the first series that Oliver was not kidnapped at all.

He'd simply wandered into the path of a drunk driver who hit the boy and then hid his unconscious body in his car boot.

Instead of being taken to hospital, Oliver died and his body was dumped.

The mini-series gathered a huge audience riveted by Nesbitt's performance as the tortured father Tony Hughes, who feels partly responsible for his son's disappearance.

It also charted the impact the hunt has on his relationship with wife Emily, played by Mr Selfridge actress Frances O'Connor.

Goldeneye actor Tcheky Karyo played Julien Baptiste, a French detective leading the police investigation into Oliver's disappearance.

The acclaimed series was nominated for two Golden Globes including Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television as well as a nomination for O'Connor as best actress in the same category. There was also critical acclaim and it was described as "hauntingly brilliant television", "supremely compelling" and "emotional dynamite".

A new series is bound to draw another huge audience especially with the Radio Times quoting sources saying Nesbitt will play a part.

He's now seen as a versatile star, able to play tough guy and comedy roles as well as sensitive parts such as Hughes. The Coleraine man has also appeared in big-budget Holywood blockbuster productions, most notably as a hobbit in Lord of the Rings.

He is known as a passionate Manchester United fan and is also Chancellor of the University of Ulster.

The final episode of The Missing was discussed heavily on the social networking site Twitter, with more than 1,000 tweets being posted per minute.

It is rumoured the second series will feature an entirely new case which may be one way Nesbitt can reprise his role.

Background

Filmed in Brussels, The Missing was written by Harry and Jack Williams, and directed by Bafta award-winner Tom Shankland. James Nesbitt starred as Tony Hughes, who feels partly responsible for his son Oliver going missing. His increasingly frantic search throughout Europe for his missing boy is the narrative force propelling the gripping story forward.

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