DS Townsend is thrown into the deep end in The Bay

Wednesday:The Bay; (ITV, 9pm)

By Claire Cartmill
Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 5:00 pm
DS Jenn Townsend, Daniel Rya, DI Anthony ‘Tony’ Manning, Rina Mahoney, Mariam Rahman, Michael Karim, Adnan Rahman, Vincent Regan, Ray Conlon, Nadeem Islam and Jamal Ra
DS Jenn Townsend, Daniel Rya, DI Anthony ‘Tony’ Manning, Rina Mahoney, Mariam Rahman, Michael Karim, Adnan Rahman, Vincent Regan, Ray Conlon, Nadeem Islam and Jamal Ra

Change. Some of us embrace it, others fear it.

But sometimes, it’s completely unavoidable – as the makers of The Bay, including creator Daragh Carville, would no doubt agree.

After taking the lead role of DS Lisa Armstrong in the first two highly successful series of the crime drama, Morven Christie announced she was leaving the show last year.

Having the lead bow out of a series at the height of its success is nothing new, but finding a suitable replacement can be a minefield for those working behind the scenes.

Who has the right weight and quality to carry a show, but also won’t be too jarring for the fans who have taken it to their hearts?

In the case of Taggart, the answer was not to replace Mark McManus at all when he passed away in 1994. Instead, the actors playing the cop’s colleagues became more prominent.

We’re yet to see what happens with Unforgotten – Nicola Walker’s character, DCI Cassie Stuart, was killed off towards the end of the last series – but The Bay seems to have filled the gap left by Christie relatively quickly.

Here’s hoping it works out well.

Marsha Thomason certainly shouldn’t have any issues with the accent.

Unlike her Scottish-born predecessor, she was born and raised in the north west of England.

She first came to fame due to roles in Pie in the Sky, Playing the Field and Where the Heart Is, although more recently she’s worked in the US, where she’s been living with her husband and daughter.

But for now at least Thomason is swapping Malibu for Morecambe, and it seems everyone is thrilled to have her in place – thanks to the show’s success, axing it was never an option.

“Daragh and I always felt that there were so many brilliant stories to be told in the world of The Bay so, after Morven decided to leave the show, we got straight to work finding a new lead actor,” says executive producer Catherine Oldfield.

“From the moment Marsha read for the part we knew it was ‘game over’ and we’d found our new lead, DS Townsend.

“We are so excited to see Marsha bring these stories to life.”

Thomason plays DS Jenn Townsend, who barely has time to turn around before she’s thrown in at the deep end – on her first day as CID’s new Family Liaison Officer a body is found in the bay.

It’s identified as being that of a promising young boxer, but Jenn’s efforts to impress her new colleagues by getting the family on side look set to fall flat – they’re a complicated bunch who would prefer to keep the outside world at arm’s length.

Jenn’s home life isn’t going well either.

Her blended family has been needing a fresh start, but settling into a new environment isn’t going to be easy.

Watch out for Daniel Ryan, who returns as Jenn’s new boss DI Tony Manning; Gary Lewis and Vincent Regan are among those joining the cast.

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