What is Platform 7 based on? Everything we know about ITV's gripping new drama

The psychological thriller has viewers wanting to know what Platform 7 is based on

Jasmine Jobson as Lisa from Platform 7 pictured standing on a train platform
(Image credit: ITV)

Despite the supernatural elements, this new ITV drama tells a story that will be all too familiar to some viewers. It's no wonder that many want to know what Platform 7 is based on.

Produced by Dancing Ledge (The Salisbury Poisonings) and adapted by multi-award-winning screenwriter Paula Milne (The Politicians Husband), Platform 7 is the latest gripping drama to arrive on ITVX. The series tells the story of Lisa, who finds herself inhabiting Peterborough train station after her death. Trying to piece together the events that led her there, she uncovers the suffering she faced at the hands of a manipulative boyfriend.

Platform 7 is one of many recent thrillers to have been adapted from books for the small screen, with Channel 4 viewers wanting to know what The Couple Next Door is based on and Netflix subscribers wondering what Fool Me Once is based on too. Over on Prime Video, the movie Foe is based on some interesting concepts, with marriage and identity coming into sharp focus throughout.  

Trigger warning: This article discusses topics that some readers may find upsetting.

What is Platform 7 based on?

Platform 7 is based on a book of the same name by author Louise Doughty. The book was published in 2019 and is Doughty's eighth novel. She is best known for Apple Tree Yard, which was a top 10 bestseller in the UK and has been translated in thirty territories worldwide.

ITV’S Head of Drama, Polly Hill, said following the commissioning of Platform 7, "I'm thrilled to be working with Dancing Ledge Productions on the haunting thriller, Platform 7, an adaptation of Louise Doughty’s brilliant novel. It's edgy, fresh and engaging and is unlike anything we've commissioned before."

Meanwhile, executive producer and managing director of Dancing Ledge Productions, Chris Carey, commented: “We’re thrilled to be adapting Louise Doughty’s celebrated novel, Platform 7, for television. The story weaves together themes of love and control in a truly original way. Part revenge story, part love story, part murder mystery, this nail-biting drama forces us to consider whether we can truly know the people closest to us."

Doughty is no stranger to having her novels adapted for the small screen. Apple Tree Yard was turned into a four-part BBC drama in 2017, with Emily Watson (The Politician's Husband, The Theory of Everything) taking on the lead role. Doughty is also credited with writing another BBC drama, Crossfire, which aired in September 2022.

Is Platform 7 a true story?

Platform 7 is not a true story. The main character, Lisa, is a ghost and the narrative takes place in the liminal space between the living and the dead.

However, the story is a chilling tale of coercive control and psychological manipulation, a contemporary issue that is all too familiar to many women.

Matt, Lisa's boyfriend in Platform 7, is a doctor and appears to be the perfect boyfriend, but he turns out to be a master manipulator. Gaslighting and love-bombing are just some of the coercive techniques he uses against Lisa, as well as flirting with other women and isolating her from friends and family.

It's an all-too-believable representation of controlling relationships, an issue that unfortunately persists in modern society. Safe Lives, a UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, defines psychological abuse as that which involves "the regular and deliberate use of a range of words and non-physical actions used with the purpose to manipulate, hurt, weaken or frighten a person mentally and emotionally; and/or distort, confuse or influence a person’s thoughts and actions within their everyday lives, changing their sense of self and harming their wellbeing."

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In a survey of domestic abuse survivors who experienced non-physical abuse, Safe Lives found that 91% experienced psychological abuse at some point in the relationship, while 49% experienced psychological abuse regularly. 

Just like in Lisa's story, 96% of survivors said that at the beginning of the relationship, their partner was charming and affectionate.

While not based on a true story, Platform 7 offers insight into how perpetrators take advantage of victims' vulnerabilities to keep them dependent upon their abuser.

Platform 7 plot

Set at Peterborough train station, Platform 7 follows central character Lisa, a ghost who is on a quest to tackle the mystery of her own untimely death. After a man takes his own life on platform seven, her memory is jogged and both she and a Transport Police officer begin to investigate her death in tandem.

The ITV synopsis reads: "The drama is a haunting thriller following central character Lisa who, after witnessing a cataclysmic event on platform seven of a railway station, finds her own fragmented memory jogged to reveal a connection between her own life and that of the event she has just witnessed. Supernatural elements combine with contemporary realism in this chilling drama."

Jasmine Jobson as Lisa in Platform 7

(Image credit: ITV)

Meanwhile, screenwriter Paula Milne has said of the drama, "This is no traditional 'spooky' ghost story. It’s the tale of a ghost on a quest to discover who she was and the events that led to her untimely death. Her story is a celebration of indignation versus passivity and truth versus lies.

"While writing it from Louise Doughty’s astute and emotionally intelligent novel, I began to feel she’s the ghost in all of us; the unseen part of us when we find ourselves reflecting on the wisdom of our past decisions. Sometimes with regret, occasionally with rancour but more often with the complicated relish of what it means to be human."

Platform 7 cast

  • Jasmine Jobson as Lisa (Top Boy, Noughts and Crosses)
  • Toby Regbo as Matt (Chivalry, A Discovery of Witches)
  • Yaamin Chowdhury as Akash (The Lazarus Project, The Essex Serpent)
  • Phil Davis as Edward (Trying, Viewpoint)

How to watch Platform 7

Platform 7 is available to watch on ITVX from Thursday 7 December. All four episodes in the series will be available to watch from this date.

The new series is an ITVX premiere, meaning it is landing on ITV's free streaming service many months ahead of linear transmission on the main channel, ITV1.

For more TV show origins, we've also looked into whether Netflix's All The Light We Cannot see is based on a true story. Elsewhere on the streamer, we've uncovered the inspiration behind pharmaceuticals drama Pain Hustlers, and the steamy Burning Betrayal and what is Leave the World Behind based on?

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.