The Missing star Tcheky Karyo originally turned down the role of Julien Baptiste

The French actor reveals he initially pulled out of the hit BBC crime drama because the storyline was making him "anxious"

Julien Baptiste, BBC Pictures, SL

Tchéky Karyo has revealed that he initially turned down the role of French detective Julien Baptiste in The Missing because the storyline made him “anxious”.


The Missing series one was about the disappearance of a young child while on a family holiday in France and his parent’s desperate search to find him.

Karyo, whose daughter had just been born before series one began filming, revealed to Radio Times that he pulled out of the series just before filming.

Thankfully, director Rom Shankland managed to convince him to re-join the series – and the rest is history.

Speaking about being cast in The Missing, Karyo – who now has his own spin-off show Baptsite – said, “I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t want to be stuck for six months filming. I didn’t want to sign for three years. And the story was making me anxious: my daughter was just born.”

In the latest issue of Radio Times, Karyo explained how he called his agent and told them to withdraw him from the project.

A “very famous French actor” was cast instead according to writer Jack Williams, but “he pulled out on the day of the read-through”.

“We went into despair,” added co-writer Harry Williams. The Missing eventually was forced to begin shooting without a Baptiste at all.

However, director Shankland spent eight hours with Karyo at his house in France convincing him to take the part. According to the creators, the actor began shooting two days later.

“Tchéky arrived on set literally the next day,” Williams told Radio Times. “He came on the Sunday, shot on Monday. We watched the first scene. It was him with Jimmy Nesbitt. Tchéky was peeling an orange or something and we just thought, ‘He’s brilliant’. Every time the rushes would come in, we just knew Julien was amazing.”

The Missing creators are now preparing for spin-off series Baptiste to air on BBC1.

The series stars Karyo alongside The Night Manager’s Tom Hollander, who revealed that he had originally auditioned to play Tony Hughes in series one, the part of the disappeared boy’s father that ultimately went to James Nesbitt.

“I didn’t get it, and I never saw it – because I was too bitter and twisted,” Hollander joked.

Hollander is set to play Edward in Baptiste, a man who enlists the detective’s help in finding a missing sex worker in Amsterdam.

Read the full feature in the latest issue of Radio Times, on sale from Tuesday


Baptiste begins on Sunday 17th February at 9pm on BBC1