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This disturbing new BBC horror series looks like must-watch TV

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Harvey Day
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‘Requiem’ is the terrifying new psychological horror series coming to BBC One

In 1994, a toddler disappears from a small Welsh village, never to be seen again.

Twenty-three years later, in London, the mother of cello star Matilda Gray commits suicide, without apparent reason. Among her possessions, Matilda discovers tantalising evidence that links her mother to the Welsh girl’s disappearance all those years ago.

And so Matilda travels to Wales, determined to explore this mystery, even if it means unraveling her own identity. In the process, she uncovers long buried secrets in this remote community - including one secret more bizarre, terrifying and dangerous than anything she could have imagined. Dark otherworldly forces are gathering - they have been waiting many years for Matilda to arrive.

That’s the premise for the chilling new horror series Requiem (created and written by Kris Mrksa), which will air its first episode this Friday at 9pm on BBC One.

Starring Lydia Wilson, Joel Fry and Joanna Scanlan, this six-episode series is part thriller, part mystery and part ghost story.

Here’s the trailer for the scary new show:

The show’s creator Kris Mrksa has spoken about his new programme and the inspiration behind it. He said: “I often have two or three ideas kicking around. Then I suddenly realise they fit together and I have something to run with. The first kernel was the death of my mother - I realised that a whole part of my life had died with her. I had very little recollection of my childhood, and what I did have was imperfect because it was a child’s view of the world.

“Losing a parent is a loss that strikes at one’s identity. Identity is something that I have always been fascinated by. I think the idea that we are all a unified individual is more illusory than we recognise. So I began to combine a philosophical idea about identity with the theme of grappling with loss.”

‘Requiem’ is the terrifying new supernatural horror series coming to BBC One

Lydia Wilson and Joel Fry star in the six-part horror series 

He added that while it’s not a typical slasher-style horror it should still have plenty of creepy moments: “I’ve never been a big fan of chainsaws and monsters, but I’ve always been an enormous fan of the more low-key, psychological horror thrillers that toy with the audience’s psyche, and the protagonist’s psyche. These are films that are terrifying and powerful, but not in the conventional way.

The Innocents, Truman Capote’s version of The Turn of the Screw, is a really wonderful film, the best haunted-house movie ever made. That had a big influence on my thinking. Other masterpieces that have the same ambiguity are Don’t Look Now and Rosemary’s Baby, which sits in terrifying, disquieting territory. Rosemary is being doubted at every turn until she starts to question herself. That was something I was trying to land with Requiem.

“I’m very much aiming to unsettle people. Since the 1960s, we have had this obsession with finding out who we really are, as if that will solve all our problems and make us happy. I’m very sceptical about that. Requiem won’t scare you like a guy with a chainsaw would scare you, but I hope I have created something haunting and disturbing. I want to cause lasting disquiet!”

I will absolutely be watching – but, in all honesty, I’ll probably be watching most of it through my fingers. 

(Images: BBC / New Pictures)

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Harvey Day

Digital writer for Shortlist.com / @harveyday94 / harvey.day@shortlist.com

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