the living and the dead
The Living and the Dead airs on BBC1 on Tuesday night (28 June) BBC

What could make better television than an adaption of a Thomas Hardy novel with a few ghosts chucked in for good measure? That's exactly how creator of brand new BBC1 series The Living and the Dead envisions his latest small screen endeavour.

Ashley Pharoah, best known for his works Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, said of the new show: "Thomas Hardy with ghosts – that was my elevator pitch," reports the Telegraph. "I've always loved Hardy and was lucky enough to adapt Under the Greenwood Tree a few years ago.

"But I also love the BBC's Seventies adaptations of M R James's ghost stories and films such as The Witchfinder General, in which the English landscape looms large. Those sort of works were our touchstone here."

The Living and the Dead will haunt Tuesday night couch potatoes for the next few weeks as it follows the story of psychologist Nathan Appleby (Colin Morgan) and his wife Charlotte (Charlotte Spencer) as they return to the family farm to visit Nathan's sick mother. Following her death, they must turn the farm's fortunes around or risk ruin, along with the devastation of the local community.

But, as expected, things take a dark turn when the vicar's young daughter starts behaving rather bizarrely in the vicarage nearby, kicking off the supernatural series with a creepy opener. Appleby is forced to put his day job into practice as he tackles the unnerving spirit that has taken a hold of the vulnerable woman.

There may be the odd horror movie gimmick thrown about when you most definitely expect it – such as faces in mirrors and sinister dolls lit up by candlelight – but it's undoubtedly worth a watch and will offer an escape from the Euros and Brexit chat.

Watch the first episode of The Living and the Dead at 9pm on BBC1 on Tuesday (28 June).