Meet the cast of Paula

Who’s who in BBC2’s gripping thriller

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What better way to mark the start of summer than with a slice of drama – and a dash of horror – by way of extra-marital affairs, rats in basements and murky pasts.

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All of the above is on offer in Paula, a three-part thriller on BBC2 set in Ireland.

It centres around a young woman whose life begins to fall apart after a one night stand. The dangerous handyman who Paula lets into her house to rid her of the rats in her basement, has a traumatic past – and the pair’s animalistic attraction for each other leads them to mutual destruction.

Here’s a guide to who’s who in the predominantly Irish cast…

Denise Gough as Paula 

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Downbeat yet sarcastically funny, self-destructive yet strong, Paula is a chemistry teacher who’s in a rut. Not only is she having an affair with a married teacher at work, but she also has a strained relationship with her dysfunctional family and she’s got rats in her basement. 

Where do I recognise Denise Gough from?

Gough is one of those actors who seems to be on every TV writer’s speed dial – she’s recently been in Guerrilla, Apple Tree Yard and The Fall. Other television roles she’s known for include Cuffs and Stella. Gough is an exceptional stage actor, and won an Olivier Award last year for her performance in People, Places, Things.

Tom Hughes as James

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James is a deceptively handsome sociopath who’ll go to extreme lengths to get some cash and feed his family. A handyman by trade, he’s had a dark and troubled past that keeps coming back to haunt him.

Where do I recognise Tom Hughes from?

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Tom Hughes is best known for playing Prince Albert in Victoria, but you might have also seen him leading the cast in The Game. He was in Cemetery Junction and Silk, too. The Cillian Murphy lookalike also appeared in About Time, the 2013 Richard Curtis film.