Meet the cast of The Halcyon

Olivia Williams, Mark Benton and Kara Tointon all star in ITV's new Second World War period drama

Betsey Day – Kara Tointon


Who does she play? Betsey sings with The Halcyon’s Sonny Sullivan Band. She’s glamorous and tough, with a down-to-earth attitude: when she’s discovered in the bath by Lord Hamilton, for instance, she stands up stark naked and demands he pass her a towel. Best friend to Emma, Betsey is always on hand with sensible advice. She also has plenty of on-stage chemistry with band leader Sonny Sullivan, but she has yet to work out that he’s in love with her.


Where have I seen her? Tointon played Dawn Swann in EastEnders until 2009. The following year she was the winner of Strictly Come Dancing, and in 2015 we saw her in Mr Selfridge and got a chance to hear her singing voice in ITV’s The Sound Of Music Live! – putting her straight to the top of the list to play jazz singer Betsey in The Halcyon.

Sonny Sullivan – Sope Dirisu


Who does he play? Sonny is interested in Betsey, but she’s not noticed yet – and everyone tells him it’ll never work out, anyway.

Where have I seen him? Dirisu was in the first series of Humans as Fred. He has also been in The Huntsman: The Winter War.

Matt Ryan – Joe O’Hara


Who does he play? Joe O’Hara is an American broadcast journalist, arriving in the UK on the advent of war and shacking up at The Halcyon. There he finds a story right under his nose: fascists and appeasers are conducting secret meetings at the hotel with Lord Hamilton. It’s a rocky start to his stay when he exposes the Hamiltons, but it’s not the end to his involvement with The Halcyon. Will he be Freddie’s rival for Emma’s love?

Where have I seen him? Ryan’s accent is convincing, but he’s actually a Welshman. He is probably best known for starring in Constantine and Arrow.

Jamie Blackley – Freddie Hamilton


Who does he play? Freddie is the heir to the Hamilton title, having been born four minutes before his twin brother. Unlike his twin Toby, he’s had his father’s love and approval. Freddie has signed up to be a fighter pilot, but he is troubled as World War Two looms on the horizon: what will this mean for his budding interest in Emma Garland? Does he have the guts to step up?


Where have I seen him? Blackley has been in If I Stay, The Fifth Estate and Snow White and the Huntsman.