Meet the cast of BBC1’s Gunpowder

Kit Harington stars in the BBC's drama about Robert Catesby and the Gunpowder Plot

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BBC drama Gunpowder is a three-part series retelling the story of the Gunpowder plot in the 17th century, a time when English Catholics were persecuted and priests who were caught preaching were punished with death.

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Several failed assassination attempts have already been made on the life of King James I, but in the depths of the Warwickshire countryside a new coup is brewing, led by devout Catholic Robert Catesby…

Find out who’s in the cast below.

Kit Harington as Robert Catesby

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Robert Catesby (Harington’s real-life ancestor on his mother’s side) is the man who ultimately masterminds the Gunpowder Plot. He is a devout Catholic who wants to oust the protestant King James I, in an era when he and those who share his faith are being brutally persecuted.

Harington says: “The more I play him, the more I realise he is a fanatic. He’s been driven to the place he is by certain events in his life. But I was intrigued by him, because he starts human – and his demise is very human.”

Where do I recognise Kit Harington from?
Harington has garnered international fame and acclaim for playing Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, but you might have also seen him in the movie Brimstone with Dakota Fanning or Testament of Youth with Alicia Vikander.

Liv Tyler as Anne Vaux

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Anne Vaux is a cousin to a couple of the men who are planning the Gunpowder Plot. As a Catholic, she is instrumental in helping to protect and hide Catholics.

Tyler says: “In the story she has a very strong relationship with Father Garnet, who we’re hiding, and who’s a very prominent priest at the time. They have a beautiful little friendship… She’s a good ol’ Catholic girl.”

Where do I recognise Liv Tyler from?

Tyler is best known for her portrayal of Elf maiden Arwen Undómiel in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. She has also appeared in the movies Armageddon, The Strangers and The Incredible Hulk. Tyler made her TV debut in 2014 with HBO series The Leftovers.

Mark Gatiss as Robert Cecil

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Robert Cecil is the King’s chief minister and spymaster. A small man with a hunchback, his loyalty is unequivocally to the Crown and he can be extremely ruthless.

Gatiss says: “I think Queen Elizabeth called him a monkey, and James called him his beetle – all rather unkind references. We can’t be sure what his spinal deformity was, but in order to nod to this I am playing him with his neck locked to one side – which I’m now regretting because it hurts a lot!”

Where do I recognise Mark Gatiss from?

Gatiss is famed for co-creating and starring in the BBC’s hit series Sherlock, but his prolific TV career also includes roles in Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Taboo, Wolf Hall, Nighty Night and The League of Gentleman.


Tom Cullen as Guy Fawkes

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The legendary Guy Fawkes is a hardened specialist brought into the plotters’ group. He’s a dangerous, experienced soldier who is fully versed in the fight for Catholic freedom.

Cullen says: “I think history perceives him as the fall guy, but they were all caught. They were all killed. There wasn’t a single one of them that got away.”

Where do I recognise Tom Cullen from?

Cullen is best known for playing Viscount Gillingham in Downton Abbey, but has also been in The Five, The Trials of Jimmy Rose and World Without End.

Edward Holcroft as Thomas Wintour

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Thomas Wintour is the cousin and best friend of Robert Catesby. He’s a former soldier, now turned lawyer.

Holcroft says: “I guess he’s Catesby’s right-hand man. He was the first to enter the Plot, the first guy who came on board.”

Where do I recognise Edward Holcroft from?

You might have seen Holcroft in either of the series London Spy or Wolf Hall, but he’s also known for playing Charlie in the Kingsman films. He is about to appear in a lead role in the forthcoming Margaret Atwood series on Netflix, Alias Grace.

Derek Riddell as King James I

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King James I is the target of the Gunpowder Plot because of his brutal policy and laws against Catholics.

Riddell says: “Some would say James was ill-mannered and lazy, only interested in having fun and hunting. Other reports, however, have him as a very intelligent but physically frail man, who spoke both French and Latin, saw himself anointed by God and so took his position very seriously. I was also surprised to learn about his penchant for young men.”

Where do I recognise Derek Riddell from?

Riddell had a shock key role in the second series of The Missing. He’s also been in W1A, Undercover, The Village and Happy Valley.


Peter Mullan as Father Henry Garnet

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Garnet is a priest who is involved in the Plot, the one befriended by Liv Tyler’s Anne Vaux.

Where do I recognise Peter Mullan from?

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Mullan’s TV work includes Top Of The Lake, The Fear, Ozark and Mum. He’s had several notable movie roles too, including The Claim, Tyrannosaur and Ken Loach’s My Name is Joe.