With Natalie Dormer leading the cast as the mysterious and strict headmistress Mrs Appleyard, Picnic at Hanging Rock promises to be quite an event when it airs on BBC2 from 9.05pm on 11th July 2018.
The drama has a huge ensemble cast – but here are the characters you need to meet and the actors who play them.
Natalie Dormer plays Hester Appleyard
Who is Hester Appleyard? The headmistress of Appleyard College, an upper-class women’s private boarding school in Australia. She rules her students with an iron fist and with precision and perfection, but Mrs Appleyard is a mysterious figure: is she really from the London aristocracy? What has she got to hide?
What else has Natalie Dormer been in? For anyone outside Australia, Natalie Dormer is the most high profile star in the whole cast. She is perhaps best known as Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones, but on the big screen she has played Cressida in The Hunger Games movies. Dormer first sprang to public attention as Anne Boleyn in The Tudors.
Who is Irma Leopold? A senior boarder, and Mrs Appleyard’s prize recruit. While she has little aptitude for or interest in academics, she is from an extremely wealthy family with high social status. Pretty and expensively-dressed, she receives piles of Valentine’s cards and has plenty of male admirers.
What else has Samara Weaving been in? You may recognise her as Penelope from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Her other credits include SMILF, Home and Away, and Out of the Blue.
Lily Sullivan plays Miranda Reid
Who is Miranda Reid? As the only girl in a family of five children, Miranda has been sent away from the remote cattle property where she grew up in order to attend Appleyard College. She is not happy about it. Miranda would rather be riding horses and exploring outdoors. She is strong-willed and proud, and frequently clashes with her headmistress – particularly over her friendship with younger pupil Sara.
What else has Lily Sullivan been in? The actress plays Petra in Romper Stomper. She’s also been in Camp, Jungle, and Sucker.
Madeleine Madden plays Marion Quade
Who is Marion Quade? Appleyard College’s most intelligent pupil. She is full of curiosity and loves maths in particular, but there aren’t many opportunities for proper study at this school: it’s more about dresses and dancing. Marion is the daughter of a prominent judge, but she is also illegitimate and mixed-race – making her the subject of cruel gossip.
What else has Madeleine Madden been in? Madeleine Madden is known for her work in Mystery Road, Tidelands and High Life.
Ruby Rees plays Edith Horton
Who is Edith Horton? Not exactly the most popular kid in the school. She is not particularly bright, and is also prone to jealousy and fussiness. Edith is tolerated by her peers but can be extremely judgemental of all the other girls.
What else has Ruby Rees been in? The young actress’s credits include Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and The Saddle Club.
Inez Curro plays Sara Waybourne
Who is Sara Waybourne? The youngest student at Appleyard College, and the main target of Mrs Appleyard’s punishments. Sara is an orphan who was adopted at an early age by her wealthy guardian Jasper Cosgrove, separating her from her beloved older brother Bertie. At Appleyard she becomes completely devoted to her room-mate Miranda, and also shows her wilful side: she is prepared to stand up to her teachers and her headmistress.
What else has Inez Curro been in? This is her first screen role.
Harrison Gilbertson plays Mike Fitzhubert
Who is Mike Fitzhubert? Handsome and privileged, the Hon Michael Fitzhubert has recently arrived to stay with his uncle (the Colonel) and aunt at their summer house. Despite his social status, he immediately develops a friendship with his uncle’s young coachman Albert.
What else has Harrison Gilbertson been in? The young Leonardo DiCaprio lookalike has appeared in Need for Speed as Little Pete and Conspiracy 365 as Cal Ormond.