Meet the cast of Black Work

Sheridan Smith leads the new three-part drama but who's who?


If curling up on the couch for a gritty drama is your idea of the perfect night then ITV’s three-parter Black Work will be right up your street.


Leeds Police Constable Jo Gillespie lives a relatively normal life until her husband Ryan – who’s also a member of the force – is killed while working deep undercover. Unsettled by the results the official investigation throw up, Jo decides to take it upon herself to find her husband’s killer.

Sheridan Smith leads the way as the determined young officer, but who’s who in her police family?

Sheridan Smith – PC Jo Gillespie


Young PC Jo is just starting out in the force but she’s a bright officer with a big future ahead of her. However, the demands of police work have placed quite a bit of strain on her marriage to fellow officer, Ryan Gillespie. That’s why Jo’s been growing close to another police officer, Jack Clark. But when undercover cop Ryan is killed, her whole world is turned upside down.

Sheridan says: Jo is strong and tough but goes through so much turmoil and mental torment. It was different to anything I’ve done before. I like trying different things and challenging myself and Matt is a really clever writer, so I said yes.”

Where have you seen her before?

Where haven’t you seen her before? The star of ITV’s Cilla is best known for her role as Mrs Biggs, starring dramatic turns in The 7.39 and The C Word, and comedy roles in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, The Royle Family and Gavin & Stacey to name but a few.

Kenny Doughty – DS Ryan Gillespie

Jo’s husband Ryan is an undercover police officer and the demands of his job put a huge strain on their marriage. He’s working deep undercover when he’s killed and, as she sets out to discover what really happened to him, Jo discovers that he wasn’t always completely honest about what he was up to.

Where have you seen him before?

He’s most recently starred opposite Brenda Blethyn as Vera’s DS Aiden Healy but you might also have spotted him in Stella, on Coronation Street’s cobbles as hunky builder Jake Harman, or in BBC1’s Servants with Orla Brady and Felicity Jones way back in 2003’s Servants.

Matthew McNulty – DC Jack Clark


Jack is married with a son around the same age as Jo and Ryan’s daughter, but that hasn’t stopped him growing closer to his female colleague. So when Jack is assigned to the investigation into Ryan’s death, he feels rather conflicted. Can he put his feelings aside and do his job properly?

Matthew says: The story had real drive and it was pushed forward with great, strong female leads. Which, in itself, is pretty unusual, unfortunately. But it was like nothing I’d ever read before.

Where have you seen him before? 

Jamaica Inn’s Jem Meryln is also The Mill’s Daniel Bate and Our Girl’s Corporal Geddings. He also starred in Misfits, the very first series of Kay Mellor’s The Syndicate, and played Fisher Bloom in Lark Rise to Candleford.

Douglas Henshall – Detective Chief Superintendent Will Hepburn


Ryan’s superior officer is devastated by his death: he was the one leading the case in which Gillespie was working undercover. He’s also anguished by the fact that he must continue to keep the details of Ryan’s case a secret while the investigation is ongoing.

Where have you seen him before?

Primeval’s Professor Nick Cutter is no stranger to a crime drama, having previously lead the cast of BBC Scotland’s Shetland. He also popped up in The Secret of Crickley Hall and as Taran MacQuarrie in Outlander.

Geraldine James – Chief Constable Carolyn Jarecki


Jarecki’s made a point of trying to improve the public image of the police, and to restore public faith in them after several allegations of corruption. Ryan’s death puts her in a very difficult position because while she wants to come out and support him in public, she doesn’t want his undercover operation to be jeopardised.

Geraldine says: She’s not just a bossy policewoman. She has to be politically astute. It’s like being a Mayor. She has to balance what she can and cannot pursue. It’s very topical.

Where have you seen her before?

Utopia’s Milner is a veteran of the stage and screen, with roles in Dummy, The Jewel in The Crown, Band of Gold, Sins, Gandi and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo under her belt. She also plays Mrs Hudson to Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock Holmes.

Andrew Knott – DS Lee Miekel


Lee was quite close to Ryan before he died so he’s deeply upset by the murder investigation. He’s not happy with the level of secrecy surrounding Ryan’s undercover operation, because it means he can’t access information that might be crucial to finding his killer.

Where have you seen him before?


Remember the little boy from The Secret Garden? He went on to star as Joe Green in Black Beauty, Henry Green in Where The Heart Is, and Dirtbox in Gavin & Stacey.