Richie switches to ITV drama

Liz Thomas

Shane Richie is to star in a new ITV1 drama, his first lead role for the channel.

The performer, who leaves EastEnders at Christmas, will play a married man who takes his parents on a family holiday to Malta with unexpected complications. What We Did on Holiday, a two-parter commissioned by the ITV drama controller Nick Elliott, is being made by ITV Production [Granada].

Elliott has also ordered a new show from Fat Friends creator Kay Mellor. She is writing a six-part series with the working title Sex Therap, which is being made by her production company Rollem. It follows on from Mellor’s earlier drama Between the Sheets, which tackles a similar subject.

The network has also bagged Sally Wainwright, who penned At Home with the Braithwaites and BBC1′s modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, to write a new series called Bonkers. It follows the life of a teacher who starts to have a breakdown after discovering her husband is the father of an old babysitter’s child, and is being made by Mersey TV, which produces Hollyoaks and Grange Hill.

ITV has also revealed it has recommissioned a number of popular series including Rebus, The Last Detective, Life Begins and Doc Martin. Dramas new to this autumn, Afterlife and Ray Winstone’s Vincent, will also be back for a second run.

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