Hengistbury Head, Southbourne Beach, Durdle Door - they are all locations that we, as Dorset residents, know and love. But the people behind a new TV project are hoping to put the beauty spots on the international map.

What began life as a five-page short, written by local writer James Dwyer, has been snapped up by director and co-writer Steve McCarten and is now being touted as a dark, gothic thriller series set to rival the hugely popular Broadchurch.

Steve created a 22-minute, abridged version of the series, which received favourable feedback and investment interest after being screened at Cannes, and has already signed up Sean Gilder - of Poldark, Hornblower and Shameless - to star in the project, subject to contract, along with Jake Davies of The Missing and Black Mirror and Jack Gordon of The Great Train Robbery, A Royal Night Out and Northern Soul.

Now, along with associate producers Lynn and David Coleman, of DAL Strategy, Steve is seeking investment to get the series off the ground.

"A TV project going to Cannes, which is primarily a film market, and coming back with several strong expressions of interest - that's a big deal", explains Steve, who initially passed on the original script, only to have a "lightbulb moment" while re-reading it several years later.

"The initial short film script is a very different animal to what we shot as a concept," he says.

"He gave me the script so I could adapt it. I gave the characters bigger back stories and hooks."

The story focuses around DI Quinn, a senior member of the RUC special branch in Belfast - one of the top terrorist hunters. Life brought him to Bournemouth, where he becomes a "normal" detective inspector and viewers catch up with the character some 16 years later, when another major life-event occurs.

“This isn’t a whodunnit," explains Steve. "We know quite early who did it. Now we have to pick off that scab and find out why they did it.”

The 22-minute "proof of concept", which was all shot locally, is already available on Amazon Prime, and the team behind Faithless are now using the film as a means of getting the business community involved, through local screenings.

While Steve is adamant that the project is not a tourism film, he is, at the same time, keen to showcase the Dorset coastline.

"Hollywood comes here - that tells you all you need to know. Dunkirk, Chesil Beach, Far From The Madding Crowd," he says.

"The themes in Faithless are a lot darker than Broadchurch, it's more grown up. But that doesn't deter from the fact that good, popular drama set in a good place will benefit that place. People want to be close to the character, so they want to go and see it."

Indeed, many companies in West Bay report an increase in business following the success of Broadchurch.

"If it's good for Bournemouth, it's good for businesses in Bournemouth," explains David Coleman, a former senior executive with HSBC.

"We did a screening investment event at Bournemouth University to appeal for local interest. What we got back was a good expression of interest from individuals, but also local businesses.

We look at this on a local leve, but we have to look at it on a national and international level - it's got to be commercially successful. The project is particularly rooted in Dorset, as well as having an international appeal."

The team are now working through the feedback and interest received from the Cannes screening, in a bid to begin work on a deal to bring the series to life.

Steve, who lectures at the university and appears as an actor in the Bournemouth-shot horror film K-Shop, is also especially keen to draw on local talent when it came to the production of the project.

"Lots of talent goes to London but there are two huge film schools here. They’re very well respected globally.

“It’s not my overriding reason for doing this, but it’s one of the under-riding reasons, is to keep the talent here. If we can give them a reason to stay, a thriving film community that’s making good content year after year so they don’t have to go to London.”

:: Potential investors can contact the Colemans at dalstrategy@gmail.com