Who’s who in Penny Dreadful?

Your catch-up guide for the cast and characters of the Sky Atlantic gothic horror show

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If you were to tune into Sky Atlantic’s Gothic drama Penny Dreadful tonight, you might be a little confused as to who everyone is, what they’re doing and why that man is a werewolf. But never fear – well, be a bit afraid of the demons and such, but don’t worry about confusion any longer, as we here at Radio Times have compiled an easy guide to the denizens of Penny Dreadful’s Victorian Gothic world.

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Check it out below – and don’t have nightmares.


Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett)

Chandler isn’t technically from the Gothic classics. He storms into Penny Dreadful’s Victorian London as the classic cowboy – an American sharpshooter with the fresh energy of the New World. The only problem is, when there’s a full moon he does get awfully hairy… 


Dr Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway)

Mary Shelley’s wealthy Swiss/ Italian remorseful obsessive becomes, in Treadaway’s portrayal, a sensitive, romantic Londoner, who struggles considerably less with the moral implications of his actions than his literary namesake, and doesn’t destroy his creation when given the chance. 


Frankenstein’s creature (Rory Kinnear)

Kinnear’s shambling but beautiful Creature, adopted by a Grand Guignol theatre company and called Caliban, is probably the closest version to Mary Shelley’s original yet seen on screen. In the novel, he’s beautiful but ghastly and has a grand total of zero bolts through his neck. The Creature’s desperate search for love and education is close to Shelley’s original, too. 


Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney)

Writer John Logan’s Dorian has certain things in common with the Victorian original… he’s beautiful and will live for ever, thanks to a painting. Oscar Wilde, however, was coy about his creation’s initiation and misbehaviour – for good reason, as his subsequent prosecution proved. Penny Dreadful’s Gray, however, doesn’t hold back. He’ll bed men, women, possibly even monsters… 


Vanessa Ives (Eva Green)

Green’s tormented psychic heroine was possessed by a demon, which opened the door to more possession; pushed her best friend into the arms of a vampire; and became involved with both Dorian Gray and Ethan Chandler… Now her past is coming back to haunt her. 


Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton)

The veteran explorer had encountered dark forces in his fight to save his daughter Mina. Now he’s leading the fight against even darker powers as he and Chandler work together to protect Vanessa. 


Evelyn Poole/Madame Kali

Last seen flirting her way through the season-one finale, the seductive spiritualist will take centre stage as a formidable villain, as her supernatural and mysterious world becomes a threat to everyone. 

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Penny Dreadful season 2 begins on Sky Atlantic tonight (Tuesday 5th May) at 10:00pm