Meet the cast of Summer of Rockets

Toby Stephens, Keeley Hawes and Timothy Spall are among the cast for BBC2's Cold War drama

SUMMER OF ROCKETS

Summer of Rockets, BBC2’s semi-autobiographical Cold War drama from Stephen Poliakoff, is headed to our screens in spring 2019, and it looks set to be a star-studded affair, with Toby Stephens and Keeley Hawes among the cast.

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Here’s everything you need to know about the cast of Summer of Rockets. 


Toby Stephens plays Samuel Petrukhin

Summer of Rockets, BBC Pictures
Toby Stephens plays Samuel Petrukhin

Who is Samuel Petrukhin? A Russian Jewish émigré, inventor Samuel Petrukhin owns a factory that manufactures hearing aids, and he caters to various high profile clients, including former Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He has recently invented the “bleeper” — or, as his colleague Courtney refers to it, the pager — but he’s struggling to find buyers, as members of the British aristocracy dislike the idea of being summoned like house servants.

Samuel has high aspirations for his two children, sending his daughter Hannah to debutante classes and his young son Sasha to boarding school. He’s also keen to keep up the appearance of wealth and social position, posting Sasha a hand-held radio, and also buying a large television set for the home.

A chance encounter with the wealthy Shaws leads to a business opportunity for Samuel, after he’s invited to their home to fit an elderly aunt with a hearing aid.

Where have I seen Toby Stephens before? Toby Stephens recently played John Robinson, one of the leading roles in Netflix’s Lost in Space. His career has spanned stage and screen; he has previously played a Bond villain in Die Another Day, Mr Rochester in the BBC series Jane Eyre, and more recently starred in Vexed, Black Sails, and the BBC’s Agatha Christie adaptation And Then There Were None.


Keeley Hawes plays Kathleen Shaw

Keeley Hawes plays Kathleen Shaw
Keeley Hawes plays Kathleen Shaw

Who is Kathleen Shaw? The enigmatic Kathleen is a member of the British aristocracy, and is married to Richard Shaw, a war hero and prominent Conservative MP. After the Petrukhins lose sight of their young son at a high profile social gathering, it’s Kathleen who finds Sasha and strikes up a conversation with his parents.

Months later, the two families reconnect and Kathleen invites the Petrukhins to her home for lunch with her husband — but it’s clear that beneath their seemingly perfect marriage, the Shaws are hiding something.

Where have I seen Keeley Hawes before? Hawes has recently starred in a string of high profile television roles, playing matriarch Louisa in The Durrells, Home Secretary Julia Montague in BBC1’s hit drama Bodyguard, and as Dorothy Wick in Mrs Wilson.

She received widespread acclaim for her role as Lindsay Denton in Line of Duty, and played Alex Drake in the Life on Mars spin-off Ashes to Ashes.


Linus Roache plays Richard Shaw MP

Linus Roache plays Richard Shaw MP
Linus Roache plays Richard Shaw MP

Who is Richard Shaw? A distinguished war hero and a Conversative MP, Richard Shaw is a charming politician with a talent for giving stirring speeches. However, in his home life Richard seems to be battling private demons.

When he unexpectedly disappears during a party speech, his wife Kathleen is forced to make excuses for him, causing a seeming rift between them.

Where have I seen Linus Roache before? Roache previously starred in Homeland as David Wellington, and is perhaps best known for playing Michael Cutter in US series Law & Order.

He’s also starred in Batman Begins, Coronation Street, and in the US series RFK, for which Roache was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as Robert F. Kennedy.


Mark Bonnar plays Field

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 20:00:01 on 12/04/2019 - Programme Name: The Summer of Rockets - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 2) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED UNTIL 8pm 12th APRIL 2019*** Field (MARK BONNAR), Denning (LEO STAAR) - (C) © Little Island Productions - Photographer: Sophie Mutevelian
Mark Bonnar (left) plays Field

Who is Field? A mysterious figure who shows an interest in Samuel Petrukhin’s burgeoning relationship with the aristocratic Shaws.

Where have I seen Mark Bonnar before? Bonnar has appeared in Catastrophe as Chris, in Humans as Neil and in ITV’s crime drama series Unforgotten as Colin Osborne.

He plays Duncan Hunter in the long-running series Shetland and has previously starred in Line of Duty, Grantchester, Psychoville and Vera.



Timothy Spall plays Lord Arthur Wallington

Timothy Spall plays Lord Arthur Wallington
Timothy Spall plays Lord Arthur Wallington

Who is Lord Arthur Wallington? A prominent figure in the upper echelons of British politics and diplomacy, Lord Arthur Wallington is a close friend of the Shaws and joins them for lunch when the Petrukhins visit.

Where have I seen Timothy Spall before?  Timothy Spall is known for various roles in films including Mr Turner, The King’s Speech, and Finding Your Feet.

He played Wormtail in the Harry Potter film franchise, and has also appeared in Blandings and A Series of Unfortunate Events.


Lucy Cohu plays Miriam

Lucy Cohu plays Miriam
Lucy Cohu plays Miriam

Who is Miriam? Miriam Petrukhin was born into aristocracy, but married “below her station” after falling in love with the inventor Samuel Petrukhin. She’s mother to Hannah and Sasha.

Where have I seen Lucy Cohu before? Known for playing Madame Maigret alongside Rowan Atkinson in the Maigret TV films, Cohu has previously starred in various television shows including Broadchurch, Ripper Street, Silent Witness, Gosford Park and Torchwood.


Gary Beadle plays Courtney

Gary Beadle plays Courtney in Summer of Rockets
Gary Beadle plays Courtney

Who is Courtney? Samuel’s right-hand man, Courtney is far firmer than Samuel when it comes to demanding their high-profile clients pay up. He’s worried about the state of the business, and encourages Samuel to let go of his chauffeur-driven car in order to save on expenses — much to Samuel’s chagrin.

Where have I seen Gary Beadle before? Beadle is known for playing Archdeacon Gabriel Atubo in Grantchester, and for starring in In the Heart of the Sea, Silent Witness and The Interceptor.


Lily Sacofsky plays Hannah

Lily Sacofsky plays Hannah
Lily Sacofsky plays Hannah

Who is Hannah? Hannah is Samuel Petrukhin’s daughter. She resents having to attend debutante classes, believing it to be ridiculous for young women to receive lessons in walking, talking, and curtseying.

Where have I seen Lily Sacofsky before? This is Sacofsky’s second onscreen role, her first being the part of Laura Fraser in Bancroft alongside Sarah Parish.


Toby Woolf plays Sasha

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Toby Woolf plays Sasha

Who is Sasha? The young son of the inventor Samuel Petrukhin, Sasha loves spending time with animals and boasting about his father’s inventions. He’s sent to boarding school during episode one.

Where have I seen Toby Woolf before? Woolf has previously appeared in The Last Post and Curfew, and is set to star in Billie Piper’s upcoming film Rare Beasts.


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Summer of Rockets will air in six parts on BBC2 in spring 2019.