Philip K Dick first published his short story The Impossible Planet in 1953. It stars the two captains of the tourism spaceship Dream Weaver, who are getting ready to go home for the day when a very persistent woman knocks at the door. She wants to go to Earth – and even though that’s impossible, she has the money to pay for it. Can these two captains give her the experience she’s looking for, after all?
This Channel 4 adaptation by The Night’s Manager’s David Farr keeps things tight with a very small (but star-studded) cast. Here are all the characters you’ll meet – and where you’ve seen the actors before:
Brian Norton – Jack Reynor
Who does he play? Known to his friends as Norton, this young man works in the tourism and leisure industry. His girlfriend Barbara is ambitious and wants a higher standard of living, so he’s applying for a promotion and a transfer – but in the meantime he and Andrews organise intergalactic tours and experiences for paying customers.
Where have I seen him before? American-born Irish actor Jack Reynor has starred in What Richard Did, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Sing Street.
Irma Louise Gordon – Geraldine Chaplin
Who does she play? Irma doesn’t look a day over 342. She’s “supernaturally old” and claims that her own grandparents actually came from Earth – even though nowadays, no one is really sure it even existed. Now, deaf and dying, she wants to travel to Earth with her robot RB29.
Where have I seen her before? Geraldine Chaplin may be 73 rather than 342, but she’s packed a lot in. The daughter of Charlie Chaplin, she starred in Doctor Zhivago, Nashville, A Wedding and Welcome to LA. She’s been nominated for Golden Globes and Baftas, and recently played the head teacher in A Monster Calls.
Ed Andrews – Benedict Wong
Who does he play? Andrews is 42, single, cynical and a little sleazy. He works with Norton and comes up with a plan to take Irma to “Earth” – in return for a suitcase of money.
Where have I seen him before? English actor Benedict Wong has starred in Netflix’s Marco Polo, and played Bruce Ng in The Martian. He’s the Marvel character Wong, starring in Doctor Strange and the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.
RB29 – performer Malik Ibheis, voice Christopher Staines
Who do they play? RB29 is a human-sized robot who looks after Irma. He has her best interests at heart.
Where have I seen them before? German “creature performer” Malik Ibheis has also popped up in BBC drama Silent Witness. Christopher Staines, who provides the voice of RB29, has appeared in person in Wolf Hall, Pride and Prejudice, and on the stage.
Barbara – Georgina Campbell
Who does she play? Barbara is Norton’s partner. We only actually see her via videolink, but it’s clear the relationship is not going well. She wants the high life, and Norton has “failed” her.
Where have I seen her before? Georgina Campbell won a Bafta for her role in Murdered by My Boyfriend in 2015. She’s also been in One Night, After Hours, and Broadchurch – as DC Katie Harford.
Electric Dreams continues on Sunday 1st October at 9pm on Channel 4 with Jack Thorne’s episode The Commuter