ITV unveils exorcist vicar Satanic drama starring Anna Maxwell-Martin

The actress will play a single mother vicar who dabbles in exorcism

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Wave goodbye to Downton Abbey, say hello to Anna Maxwell-Martin as a country vicar with a sideline in exorcisms in ITV’s new supernatural drama.

Midwinter of the Spirit, commissioned for the ITV Encore drama channel, stars the Bafta-winning Maxwell-Martin as vicar Merrily Watkins, a single mother whose newly acquired training has put her on “the dark side of the pulpit.”

ITV said: “She’s become one of the few women priests working as an exorcist - a job increasingly mistrusted by the modern Church and rarely talked about, even though it operates in virtually every diocese in the UK.” David Threlfall plays Rev Huw Owen, a deliverance ministry tutor and Merrily’s mentor.

Based on Phil Rickman’s novels, the screenwriter is Stephen Volk whose banned BBC play Ghostwatch was recently voted by viewers one of the scariest TV moments of all time.

ITV hopes the initial 3-part serial, set in motion when a man is found murdered in the most horrific circumstances imaginable and Merrily becomes convinced that Satanists are operating in the city, will become a returning series.