Andrew Buchan: 'Passenger is the start of a very big journey!'

 Andrew Buchan created ITV thriller Passenger.
Andrew Buchan created ITV thriller Passenger.

Passenger creator Andrew Buchan says the ITV drama is just the start of the story for the people of Chadder Vale!

Buchan's first TV show has drawn comparisons with Stranger Things from some of its cast, with the screenwriter saying the six-part series has "opened up a whole new universe".

Set in the fictional Lancashire village of Chadder Vale, the darkly comic horror begins with the disappearance of a local woman, Katie Wells (Rowan Robinson), who goes missing after a strange encounter in the woods.

She turns up the next day as if nothing has happened, yet the incident proves the start of a sinister and unexplained chain of events that spreads fear and anxiety through the village’s community.

It’s up to Detective Riya Anjuwa (Wunmi Mosaku) to find out what’s going on, but with a dangerous criminal being released from prison, a monster on the loose and something fishy going on at the local bread factory, she has her hands full.

"The main theme of the story is fear," says Buchan. "Fear of change, fear of growth, fear of failure. I had a very clear idea of how I wanted it to start and how I wanted it to end. I guess the big question was how we got there, but I was also wondering at what point to start drip-feeding the audience with what may or may not be happening.

"We decided to conceal that a bit, so people will have to wait until episode six to find out some of the answers to all the clues we leave along the way. I hope people re-watch the series — that’s a bold thing to say isn’t it? — because believe me, there really are quite a few clues along the way."

Wunmi Mosaku plays former Met Police Detective Riya Ajunwa in Passenger
Wunmi Mosaku plays former Met Police Detective Riya Ajunwa in Passenger

Yet anyone who’s finished the series will know that while some loose ends are tied up, there are still plenty of questions left to answer as the credits roll at the end of episode six….

“By the end of that episode, people will realise these people are still at the start of a very big journey,” explains Andrew. “I really mean that, because we really are opening up a whole new universe with Passenger!”

The series has been compared to the likes of Fortitude, Fargo and True Detective by some critics and references plenty of British TV cop shows throughout, yet Andrew says his inspiration for the story came from back home.

"The seed of the idea came from growing up in the North West," he explains. "I’m from Bolton and I've got mates in villages dotted across the Pennines and those places and those people and those characters are utterly magical. There's a warmth and a generosity to them and a shorthand to the way they act and speak…

“And in every corner, anecdotes are the antidote. And whatever the struggle, however dark the days may be, they fight it and flatten it with humor and sarcasm. And I've always been intrigued and fascinated by that, I've always loved it. So I wanted to create a small, fictional northern community and place something otherworldly in it, that would detonate as much humor as possible and push their reactions to the limit.”

Passenger is available to stream on ITVX now