Keeley Hawes and Julia McKenzie star in first look at JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy

The pair play disgruntled mother and daughter-in-laws in the first image from Rowling's BBC1 adaptation

Keeley Hawes and Julia McKenzie star in the first image from new JK Rowling drama The Casual Vacancy.


The Harry Potter writer’s first adult novel is being transformed into a three-hour miniseries for the BBC and HBO, with Hawes and McKenzie set to play two of the main roles.

The pair play daughter-in-law and mother-in-law Samantha and Shirley Mollison – and from the look of this picture, their relationship is anything but easy. A sequin-clad Shirley can be seen poking a less-than-impressed Samantha at a local social event. 

Michael Gambon also appears in the drama as Shirley’s husband and Samantha’s farther-in-law Howard Mollison, who owns the Pagford delicatessen, alongside Rory Kinnear, Rufus Jones and Emily Bevan..

The tale, a social satire set in a small West Country town called Pagford, has been executive produced by JK Rowling herself. The Crimson Field’s Sarah Phelps penned the screenplay while In the Flesh’s Jonny Campbell directed the project.


The BBC announced plans to adapt the Harry Potter author’s first adult novel last year, with BBC1 controller Danny Cohen saying: “It is thrilling to be bringing the work of JK Rowling to BBC1 audiences. This project highlights the ambition and scale of BBC1 drama, as well as the ability of modern television to attract the world’s biggest talent and most exciting creative ideas.”