Martin Clunes to star as real life detective in new ITV drama

Martin Clunes (left) and DCI Colin Sutton
Martin Clunes (left) and DCI Colin Sutton
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Martin Clunes has signed up to star in a drama about the hunt to find one of Britain's most dangerous serial killers.

Manhunt will air on ITV, based on the memoirs of former London Metropolitan Police detective DCI Colin Sutton.

Doc Martin actor Clunes, 55, will play Sutton, who pursued murderer Levi Bellfield.

The drama will tell the story of how the murder of French national Amelie Delagrange, in 2004, was eventually linked to the killing of Marsha McDonnell in 2003 and the abduction and murder of Milly Dowler as she walked home from school in 2002.

Ms Delagrange, 22, was attacked and struck several times on the back of the head with a hammer as she walked home following a night out with friends.

DCI Sutton "dedicated himself to finding Amelie's killer. With very little evidence, his painstaking approach and the diligence of his fellow officers gradually led to breakthroughs in the case", ITV said, "refusing to rule out similarities to the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Milly Dowler in the same south-west corner of London despite superior officers refusing to make the connection."

The drama has been penned by Ed Whitmore, known for Silent Witness, Rillington Place and Strike Back.

ITV head of drama Polly Hill said the story continued in the broadcaster's "strong tradition" of bringing "important true stories to screen".

"With the full co-operation of ex-DCI Colin Sutton, Manhunt dramatises his fight to find Amelie's killer, Levi Bellfield," she said.

"It is a powerful, compelling script from Ed Whitmore, which illustrates how a dedicated and resilient police officer was determined to leave no stone unturned.

"I am delighted that Martin Clunes is to play Colin Sutton, in what will be a powerful and unmissable performance."