The Bay series 4: Everything you need to know about the return to Morecambe for the detective series

Get the latest release date news on The Bay series 4; ITV’s returning crime drama set in Morecambe and starring Marsha Thomason.

By Alex Fletcher Updated: 8 March 2023 - 12.23pm
ITV Marsha Thomason in The Bay

The Bay has become one of ITV’s most popular returning series with viewers watching the Morecambe-set detective drama in their millions.

Marsha Thomason will return as family liaison officer DS Jenn Townsend for The Bay series 4 in 2023 with familiar faces from Morecambe CID also back in the cast.

In series 4 we’ve been promised another story filled with twists and turns, all set once more on the dramatic and glorious coastline of north-west England.

Written by Daragh Carville (Being Human, Cherrybomb), the police drama first aired in 2019, when Morven Christie led the cast as DC Lisa Armstrong.

Christie and co-star Taheen Modak, who played Med Kharim, left the show after series 2, with Thomason stepping into her shoes as the local force's family liaison officer.

Here is everything we know so far about The Bay series 4…

What is The Bay series 4 release date?

Watch The Bay on Wednesday, 8 March at 9pm on ITV and ITX.

Catch up on The Bay series 1-3 on ITVX.

What is the plot in The Bay series 4?

THE BAY | SERIES 3 - DS Townsend ITV

ITV has revealed that The Bay series 4 will focus on the death of young mum Beth Metcalf, who appears to have been killed in a targeted attack.

Jenn Townsend is called to help bereft husband Dean, who is struggling to hold it together with four children to look after.

And as Jenn, Manning, and the team dig into the case, "they discover secrets and lies lurk beneath every surface".

Writer Daragh Carville said: "With every season of The Bay we start with a new crime and new family. I start by thinking about that family and what happens to them, what is it that sets this story in motion.

"This year we start with a house fire, which we quickly learn was started deliberately. There is a devastating loss in that fire. I wated something that would impact not just the family, but also the wider community.

"I felt like a fire is something that would bring a community together and also expose the fissures. We’re in series 4 now, so it felt like we were in a place that we could handle the scale of a story like that. But as ever, the series is really about the emotional lives of the characters."

ITV drama boss Polly Hill said: "I'm delighted that we will be returning to Morecambe for another series of The Bay. Marsha Thomason delivered a brilliant performance as DS Jenn Townsend, and it will be exciting to see where Daragh takes her character in series 4.

Catherine Oldfield, executive producer, said the "brilliant" Marsha Thomason had "breathed new energy into the show" in series 3.

Dealing with male grief

Joe Armstrong as Dean Metcalf in The Bay ITV

"What I was most interested in was the impact on the father of a terrible loss like this," said The Bay writer Daragh Carville.

"We’ve often focussed in previous series on grief and loss with a mother, but we hadn’t in the same way explored male grief and how that might be different. That is where I came up with this character Dean Metclafe, played by Joe Armstrong.

"A working class character, who works with his hands and he loves his family, but he’s not always been comfortable with showing that or articulating that. He has to re-evaluate everything after these events."

Barry Sloane added: "I’ve done a lot of work with male mental health charities and what’s so great about this storyline is that it emphasises how important it is for men to open up and talk about grief, their emotions and feelings when they’re under pressure.

"We lose far too many men because of that. Any programme that can help strengthen male mental health is incredibly important and I’m very proud to be part of a show that does that."

The Bay series 4 – New and returning cast

MARSHA THOMASON as DS Jenn Townsend , ANDREW DOWBIGGIN as DS James Clarke/ÒClarkieÓ and ERIN SHANAGHER as DS Karen Hobson ITV

The Bay series 4 full cast - Meet the characters

The latest series will see Marsha Thomason (White Collar) return as DS Jenn Townsend, Daniel Ryan (Innocent) as DI Tony Manning, Andre Dowbiggin (Coronation Street) as DS James Clarke and Erin Shanagher (Peaky Blinders) as DS Karen Hobson.

Barry Sloane (Revenge) and Georgia Scholes (Hollyoaks) return as Chris and Erin Fischer and Emma Haynes and David Carpenter also reprise their roles as Maddie and Conor Townsend.

Joining the cast and new for series 4 are Joe Armstrong (Happy Valley) as Dean Metcalf, Claire Goose (Waking the Dead) as Chris Fischer’s ex-wife Jacqui, Ian Puleston-Davies (Tin Star), Karl Davies (Happy Valley) and Christopher Coghill (Slow Horses).

The four Metcalf children who lose their mum will be played by Tom Taylor (Doctor Foster), Eloise Thomas (Chloe), Will Oldfield (The Goes Wrong Show) and Ella Smith (CBeebies Presents: The Tempest).

Why did Morven Christie quit The Bay?

Morven Christie as Lisa Armstrong in The Bay ITV

Morven Christie made a surprise exit from The Bay after two series playing Lisa Armstrong.

The series was a ratings success and the producers suggested that the decision to exit the show was made by Christie.

In a statement, the creators said: "[We] thank Morven for her brilliant contribution to The Bay and wish her every success for the future.

"While the DNA of the show remains the same, the change of lead offers up the exciting opportunity to place a new character at the centre of the drama and explore the world of Morecambe from a fresh perspective."

After her exit was announced, the actor wrote on Instagram: “Bye Lisa. You were a gift. Thank you Daragh Carville, thank you beloved @leehavenjones for bringing me in, and biggest love EVER to the crew who had my back and have my heart."

Where is The Bay filmed?

Daniel Ryan as Tony Manning in The Bay ITV

Police drama The Bay is both set and filmed in the Lancashire coastal town of Morecambe.

The setting was inspired by the view from writer Daragh Carville's window, and, says executive producer Catherine Oldfield, the fact that the bay had never been seen in TV drama.

"It's a really interesting mix of things, because on the one hand it’s very striking, it’s beautiful, it’s got extraordinary views out across the bay towards the Lake District. But it’s also got that very distinctive British or Irish seaside town quality, because as with many seaside places, it has slightly lost its raison d’être,” said Carville.

"I suppose the combination of it being a beautiful place, but also a place that has had its struggles - there’s something about Morecambe, it’s literally on the edge of the country, but there’s also a metaphorical edge to it as well."

Find out more about The Bay filming locations

The Bay series 4 starts on Wednesday, 8 March at 9pm on ITV.

The full series will be available after episode 1 airs on ITVX.

Series 1-3 are available now on ITVX.