PETER James’s detective novels are coming to our TV screens, with John Simm starring in the title role as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace.

The crime writer said it was “inspired casting” as John Simm “actually looks like the Roy Grace of my imagination”.

Peter, who lives in Henfield, added: “With John in the lead, the brilliant scripting by Russell Lewis, and our wonderful production team, I’m confident that fans of my novels and of TV crime dramas in general will be in for a treat.”

This will not be the first time that John Simm has played a troubled detective on television.

He is perhaps most famous for his performance as time travelling DCI Sam Tyler in the BBC series Life On Mars. He is also known for playing The Master in Doctor Who.

The new TV series, entitled Grace, will consist of two 120-minute episodes and will cover the first two books in the series. Filming is due to begin in Brighton early next year.

The two-part series has been commissioned by ITV and will be created produced by Second Act Productions, Tall Story Pictures and Vaudeville Productions.

The first film, based on Dead Simple, will be directed by John Alexander, while the second film, based on Looking Good Dead, will be directed by Julia Ford.

The Roy Grace series has been translated into 37 languages and has sold more than 20 million copies.

The screenplays have been written by British screenwriter Russell Lewis, who devised and adapted the Endeavour series, a prequel to Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse books.

“I’m thrilled and honoured to be involved in bringing Peter James’s brilliantly gripping series of Roy Grace novels to ITV,” said Russell Lewis. “Each story is a fantastic, hair-raising, twisting, switchback of a roller-coaster ride that grips the reader from first to last and the opportunity to translate that best-selling magic to television is like all one’s Christmases and birthdays come at once.

“As his millions of fans and admirers are well aware, Peter’s meticulous research and eye for detail are the stuff of legend.”

Dead Simple, the first instalment in the Roy Grace series, was released in 2005

The book was adapted for the stage by Shaun McKenna and toured in 2015 with a cast including Holby City’s Tina Hobley and Jamie Lomas from EastEnders.