The Secret: A truth too hard to hide - ITV, Friday, 9pm

The Secret, Friday, 9pm, ITV

The Secret, Friday, 9pm, ITV

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The location: a seaside town in Northern Ireland in 1991.

The scene: two bodies in a carbon monoxide filled car. A former nurse Lesley Howell, and a police officer Trevor Buchanan, have apparently taken their own lives together.…

This is the true story of a Sunday school teacher and a respectable dentist who formed a murderous partnership.

Hazel Buchanan and Colin Howell meet at their local Baptist Church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland and embark upon a passionate and destructive affair, which climaxes in an elaborate plot to commit the “perfect murder” to kill both their partners, Lesley and Trevor, and make it look like a suicide pact.

The killers fool the police and get away with murder, but their relationship soon sours and they separate. They rebuild their lives, each remarrying and prospering, but can never escape what they have done. As a series of disasters befalls Howell, he finally confesses his crimes to the horrified elders of his church.

Convicted of murder, Howell implicates Hazel in the killing. Hazel admits involvement but pleads not guilty, claiming she was coerced. In a climactic murder trial, Howell gives evidence against his former lover.

Star James Nesbitt said: “It was hard in the sense that this was a love story, and a murder story. They were in love and so that had a big part of our story. Genevieve’s very compelling and brings Hazel to life. It was hard for us to play these lovers who turn into murderers, because you have to try and find what they saw in each other to make them go that far”.

“All I can do is try and create something that is truthful to the script, and the writing is so strong. I’ve talked to many people who will have known Colin. I’m from Coleraine.

He lived opposite my sister, they had the same cleaner, my sister went to some of Lesley’s coffee mornings, which I only found out recently”.

The Secret, ITV, Friday, 9pm