Olivia Colman and Sheridan Smith to star in new David Nicholls drama The 7:39

David Morrissey and Sean Maguire will also appear in the "emotionally agonising and brilliantly British" romantic BBC1 two-parter


Broadchurch actress Olivia Colman will star alongside David Morrissey, Sheridan Smith and Sean Maguire in two-part romantic drama, The 7:39. Written by David Nicholls (One Day, Starter For Ten) the commission follows the story of Carl Matthews (Morrissey) – a 45-year-old who fights a daily battle to board the 7:39 train from Waterloo where he encounters the same miserable crowd every morning as they embark on their daily commute.


Happily married to his college best friend, Maggie (Colman), and with two sulky teenagers, life for Carl has become predictable. That is until he encounters Sally Thom (Smith) who has recently moved out of London to manage a health club. Uncertain of her plans to marry personal trainer Ryan (Maguire), and uneasy about her new suburban life, Sally is another passenger on the daily 7:39. But after she battles with Carl over a seat, the pair begin talking and suddenly their monotonous commute becomes a lot more interesting…

Speaking of his latest drama, David Nicholls said, “The 7.39 is a love story for grown-ups, the sort of drama that has not been seen on television for a while. I’m delighted to be writing for the BBC again and working with such a terrific cast and production team.”

Directed by John Alexander (Quirke, White Heat), the new two-parter will be produced by Carnival Films – the company behind Downton Abbey – with executive producer, Sally Woodward Gentle, adding: “We are excited to be involved in a project, not just with David Nicholls, but with the extraordinary talent of David Morrissey, Sheridan Smith, Olivia Colman and Sean Maguire. You couldn’t imagine a stronger team.”


Controller of BBC drama commissioning, Ben Stephenson confirmed The 7.39 would be, “a laugh out loud, funny, painfully truthful, emotionally agonising and brilliantly British” piece.