“In a Welsh community that has been left behind, a large construction project offers hope for a better future. But an explosion, followed by a catastrophic collapse, leaves many dead, children included, and the community devastated.”
That’s the concept behind The Accident, Jack Thorne’s new four-part drama starring Sarah Lancashire.
Here are the cast and characters you need to meet…
Sarah Lancashire plays Polly Bevan
Who is Polly Bevan? A hairdresser and mother-of-one. She is the wife of a local politician in Glyngolau, who has championed a construction project in their small Welsh town.
What else has Sarah Lancashire been in? She is perhaps best-known for starring as Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley, a role which won her a Bafta – or you may know her for her other Bafta-winning role in Last Tango in Halifax. Sarah Lancashire previously led the cast of Jack Thorne’s Channel 4 drama Kiri, and in the 1990s she played Raquel in Coronation Street.
Joanna Scanlan plays Angela Griffiths
Who is Angela Griffiths? One of Polly’s best friends. Her daughter Mia is also best friends with Polly’s daughter, Leona. Joanna Scanlan says: “She’s a working class woman. She works in a supermarket. Her husband hasn’t got a job. Her son hasn’t got a job. She’s not at all unhappy at the outset of the piece. She’s a kind of fun seeking community minded fairly happy woman, despite the fact that she’s got almost no material possessions or no material support. But she’s not an unhappy person and within that she’s someone who’s always been quite bullish, the leader of the gang quality with her. No one messes with Angela.”
What else has Joanna Scanlan been in? Bafta-nominated actress and writer Joanna Scanlan starred as Sister Den Flixter in Getting On, Terri Coverley in The Thick of It, Sandra in Hold the Sunset, DI Vivienne Deering in No Offence, and Janice in Requiem.
Eiry Thomas plays Greta
Who is Greta? One of Polly’s closest friends.
What else has Eiry Thomas been in? You may recognise her as PC Susan Williams from popular Welsh TV drama Keeping Faith. Eiry Thomas’s other shows have included The Indian Doctor, Rillington Place, Living a Lie, and Stella.
Mark Lewis Jones plays Iwan Bevan
Who is Iwan Bevan? A local councillor, and Polly’s husband. He was the one who drove this construction project forward.
“I think he likes to be the king of the castle a bit,” says Mark Lewis Jones. “He likes to be head of the council and to be well respected. He’s the guy who always makes a speech, you know. But there’s a darker side and that’s played out privately in the home.
What else has Mark Lewis Jones been in? Prolific Welsh actor Mark Lewis Jones appeared as General Pikalov in acclaimed TV series Chernobyl, and played Steve Baldini in Keeping Faith (starring alongside his The Accident colleague Eiry Thomas). Other recent credits have included Gangs of London, Carnival Row, Stella, and Star Wars movie The Last Jedi – in which he played Captain Canady.
Sidse Babett Knudsen plays Harriet Paulsen
Who is Harriet Paulsen? An executive at Kallbridge Developments, who were behind this regeneration project. After the explosion, she arrives at the site of the tragedy to find herself the focus of grief and simmering anger. According to Channel 4, “she’s tough, 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.”
What else has Sidse Babett Knudsen been in? The Danish actress gained international recognition for playing Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg in Borgen, and for starring as Theresa Cullen in Westworld.
Nabhaan Rizwan plays Tim
Who is Tim? Harriet’s assistant at Kallbridge Developments. He is smart and eager, “but his good sense may be clouded by his desire to protect Harriet.”
What else has Nabhaan Rizwan been in? Having made his debut as the lead actor in 2018 series Informer, he has since filmed roles in Mughal Mowgli, Sam Mendes’ First World War movie 1917, and Last Letter from Your Lover.
Adrian Scarborough plays Philip Walters
Who is Philip Walters? A lawyer who appears on the scene. “He circles the community, asking questions and probing for details about what happened. What’s his agenda, and should the community place their trust in his action plan for justice?”
What else has Adrian Scarborough been in? The prolific character actor (pictured here on the red carpet) has recently played Dr Fuchs in Sanditon and Raymond in Killing Eve. His other credits include On Chesil Beach, Blunt Talk, Crashing, Gosford Park, The History Boys, Notes on a Scandal, Miranda, Plebs, Gavin & Stacey, and Upstairs Downstairs.
Jade Croot plays Leona Bevan
Who is Leona Bevan? Polly and Iwan’s teenage daughter. She is the ringleader of the teenagers who break onto the construction site.
What else has Jade Croot been in? Back in 2013 she made a brief appearance in Casualty, and she is soon to appear in TV series The Witcher. She has also performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Emily May plays Mia
Who is Mia? Leona’s best friend, and Angela’s daughter.
What else has Emily May been in? The young actress has appeared in Billy Elliot the Musical on the West End stage, and has previously appeared on screen in Welsh drama Gwaith/Cartref and BBC drama Class.
Genevieve Barr plays Debbie Kethin
Who is Debbie Kethin? Part of a group of old friends which includes Polly, Angela, and Greta. Her husband Alan is caught up in the accident, and there is a question of whether he was responsible for what happened, as he was in charge of site security.
What else has Genevieve Barr been in? Back in 2010, Genevieve Barr starred in a BBC1 crime drama called The Silence, playing a young deaf girl who witnesses a murder. The following year she teamed up with Jack Thorne on TV mini-series The Fades, and went on to appear in Shameless, Call the Midwife, and Liar.
Ruth Madeley plays Laura
Who is Laura? She is hired by Kallbridge to serve as Harriet’s counsel.
What else has Ruth Madeley been in? One of her most recent roles was in Years and Years, where she played Rosie Lyons. The actress played Tracey McHarrie in series seven of Cold Feet, and was Julie in TV series The Level. In 2016 she earned a lead actress Bafta nomination for Don’t Take My Baby.
Peter Sullivan plays Frank
Who is Frank? Details have yet to be revealed, but he may be an executive at Kallbridge.
What else has Peter Sullivan been in? Poldark fans will recognise Peter Sullivan as series five’s Ralph Hanson. He has also played Tate in MotherFatherSon, Phil Dawkins in Marcella, Commander Laurence Stern in The Hour, and Cardinal Ascanio Sforza in The Borgias.
Kimberley Nixon plays Detective Hendricks
Who is Detective Hendricks? The police detective who must investigate what happened on the day of the accident.
What else has Kimberley Nixon been in? Kimberley Nixon recently played Hannah in The Left Behind, and Millie in Outlander. She starred as Josie in Fresh Meat, Alison in New Blood, and Harry Bennett-Edwards in the TV series Critical. Way back in 2007, the actress made her screen debut as Sophy Hutton in Cranford, alongside Judi Dench and Imelda Staunton.
Shaun Parkes plays Martin
Who is Martin? An outsider in town, Martin Harris, 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.”
What else has Shaun Parkes been in? In recent years, Shaun Parkes has played Reynolds in Line of Duty, Captain Radic in Lost in Space, Clive Stephenson in Hooten & the Lady, and Truss in The Aliens. His credits also include The River, Notes on a Scandal (as Bill Rumer) and Doctor Who (as Zachary Cross Flane).