When is The Accident on TV? Who is in the cast – and what is it about?

Sarah Lancashire leads the cast of Jack Thorne's new drama about a devastating explosion in a small Welsh town – and the fallout for the local community

Sarah Lancashire

Sarah Lancashire reunites with Kiri and The Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne in his brand new Channel 4 series The Accident – which was previously announced under working title The Light.

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Here’s what you need to know…


When is The Accident on TV?

The Accident will air on Channel 4, with four hour-long episodes.

An air date has yet to be announced – watch this space for further details!


What is The Accident about?

According to Channel 4’s synopsis, “In a community that has been left behind, a large construction project offers hope for a better future; regeneration, and much needed employment. But an explosion, followed by a catastrophic collapse, leaves many dead, children included, and the community devastated.”

The story will centre on a character called Polly, played by Sarah Lancashire. She is the wife of the local politician in the small Welsh town of Glyngolau who championed the project. Their rebellious daughter Leona had led a group of friends who broke onto the site on the day of the explosions; Leona is now left with a lifelong disability after the disaster.

“As communal grief gives way to a torrent of anger and blame, the community finds itself torn apart. Unwilling to accept that their children were to blame, the families cry for justice,” the broadcaster says. “It falls to Polly to hold the community together, and to face the challenging truths that begin to emerge.”

The series is actually linked to Jack Thorne’s critically-acclaimed Channel 4 dramas National Treasure (2016) and Kiri (2018).

Kiri (BBC, EH)
Sarah Lancashire in Kiri (BBC)

Back in August 2018, as he revealed the first details of his new drama, Thorne said: “At the beginning of National Treasure we started talking about the possibilities of a trilogy which peeked behind the curtains of this country and tried to ask difficult questions about who we are and how the media paints us. I am so delighted we are going to get to finish that trilogy off.”

Like both those previous dramas, The Accident will look at “how the media spotlight in the wake of such a disaster can affect a community,” with Channel 4 saying: “If National Treasure was about shame and Kiri was about blame, [The Accident] will be about justice, as a forgotten town searches for truth in the aftermath of a tragedy.”


Who is in the cast of The Accident?

The Accident has a cast packed full of familiar faces and brilliant actors.

Sarah Lancashire, who previously starred in Happy Valley as well as Thorne’s 2018 drama Kiri, plays Polly Bevan – the wife of the local politician who championed the project.

Her husband, Councillor Iwan Bevan, is played by Mark Lewis Jones (National Treasure, Keeping Faith). He is a respected figurehead in the local community and loves his home town, making him “passionate about restoring the town to its former glory, but at what cost…?”

Iwan and Polly have a “complicated” relationship behind closed doors, and they also have to contend with a rebellious teenage daughter called Leona (Jade Croot) who loves to wind up her dad. “But when Leona suffers life-changing injuries as a result of the accident on her father’s site, the family finds itself tested to the limits,” Channel 4 says.

Sidse Babett Knudsen as Jill in Electric Dreams: Crazy Diamond
Sidse Babett Knudsen in the drama Electric Dreams (Channel 4)

Westworld and Borgen star Sidse Babett Knudsen plays Harriet Paulsen, the executive at Kallbridge Developments which has overseen the project in the small Welsh town of Glyngolau. “On hearing the news of the disaster, Harriet immediately heads to the site but finds herself the focus of raw grief and anger,” the broadcaster explains. “She’s tough with a ruthless streak but her desire for self-preservation and to protect the business she’s helped build comes into sharp conflict with her compulsion to do the right thing.”

Working with her at Kallbridge is her “smart and eager” executive assistant Tim, played by Informer star Nabhaan Rizwan, who is extremely protective of his boss.

Other residents of Glyngolau include Angela Griffiths (No Offence star Joanna Scanlan) and single parent Greta (Keeping Faith actress Eiry Thomas), Polly’s oldest and closest friends. Both have lost daughters in the accident, and their grief leads them to demand justice.

Genevieve Barr plays the character Debbie Kethin, whose life is shattered when her husband Alan died in the disaster. He was responsible for site security; the accident happened on his watch.

Outsider in town Martin Harris (Shaun Parkes) is the one who rescues Leona from the wreckage of the collapsed building, and he quickly finds himself at the centre of events – while “he and Polly find in each other someone they can truly trust.”

Actor Adrian Scarborough (recently seen in Killing Eve) is another outsider, Philip Walters, who “circles the community in the aftermath of the explosion, asking questions and probing for details about what happened. Who is he, what’s his agenda, and should the community place their trust in his action plan for justice?”

Finally, Years and Years actress Ruth Madeley joins the cast as Laura, who is hired by Kallbridge to serve as Harriet’s counsel.


Who is Jack Thorne?

Getty, TL

Screenwriter Jack Thorne’s previous credits include National Treasure and Kiri. On TV, he is also known for his work on This is England ‘86, This is England ’88, This is England ’90, Skins, Shane Meadows’ The Virtues, and The Last Panther.

On the stage, Thorne wrote Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for London’s West End, as well as Hope, Let the Right One In, and The Solid Life of Sugar Water.

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His adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials will be on our screens soon.