TV preview: The Secret

James Nesbit plays a dentist turned killer in three-part drama The Secret, based on the true story of Colin Howell.

James Nesbit plays a dentist turned killer in three-part drama The Secret, based on the true story of Colin Howell.

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James Nesbit stars in ITV’s new three-part drama based on the true story of killer dentist Colin Howell.

Seen as a pillar of the community, Howell’s life began to unravel after meeting Sunday school teacher Hazel Buchanan at their local Baptist Church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. Embarking on a passionate and destructive affair, Colin wants to remain in the church and refuses to consider divorce. However, when his wife’s father dies, and she contemplates suicide, Colin believes that he has found a way out.

“The Secret is a powerful true life crime story,” said ITV’s director of drama, Steve November, who commissioned the programme. “The production team at Hat Trick led by Mark Redhead has a long-held reputation for producing quality drama focusing on human frailties and tragedy.”

The three-parter is based on the book by journalist Deric Henderson, which detailed how in 1991 the bodies of Howell’s and Buchanan’s spouses were discovered in a fume-filled car in Castlerock, Co Londonderry, in what appeared to be a suicide pact. Nineteen years later, Howell confessed to the murder. Both he and Buchanan are currently serving sentences for the murders.

The Secret, ITV, Friday, 9pm