Bancroft’s back! The psychological ITV thriller returns to our screens from New Year’s Day, with Sarah Parish leading the cast as the ruthless (and murderous) Detective Chief Superintendent Elizabeth Bancroft.
There are plenty of familiar faces, alongside some brand new additions.
Here are the actors and cast you need to meet:
Sarah Parish plays Elizabeth Bancroft
Who is Elizabeth Bancroft? Now promoted to Detective Chief Superintendent, Bancroft is head of a newly-merged police force which boasts exemplary low crime rates. But as ITV puts it, “Elizabeth’s ruthless ambitions have certainly been professionally rewarded. However, instead of enjoying the vista from the top, she finds her view stained by the dark landmarks of her past crimes.”
The one person Elizabeth loves most in the world is her son – but ever since Joe realised his mother was a murderer, the two of them have been estranged. Elizabeth feels his absence deeply: “Without Joe, Elizabeth’s home life is noticeably empty and she has found herself isolated. In an effort to cope with this solitude Elizabeth has channelled all her energy into work.”
What else has Sarah Parish been in? Multiple TV shows. She played Cath Atwood in Broadchurch, Lucrezia in Medici, Cheryl in Trollied, Anna Rampton in W1A, and Allie Henshall in Cutting It. Back in 2006, she also put in an appearance as the Empress in Doctor Who episode The Runaway Bride, and in the 90s she played Dawn Rudge in Peak Practice.
Adam Long plays Joe Bancroft
Who is Joe Bancroft? Elizabeth Bancroft’s son. When we first met him, he was working as a physiotherapist; with his mum’s initial encouragement, he began dating her colleague DS Katherine Stevens.
But two years later, the events of series one have taken their toll. “Whilst once the doting son, Elizabeth’s involvement in Joe’s girlfriend Katherine’s death caused a permanent fracture between the two,” ITV explains. “Unable to confront her on these crimes, he left for a new start in another city, finally cutting Elizabeth’s apron strings.” Now, Joe has returned – with a fiancé, Annabel. But he is not interested in reconciling with his mother, no matter how desperate she is to win him back.
What else has Adam Long been in? You may have seen him recently as no-good Vincent Chapman in The Bay. His other TV roles have included Jack Heaton in Home Fires (alongside his Bancroft co-star Francesca Annis) and Lewis Whippey in Happy Valley, while his film credits have included Dunkirk, Peterloo and The Kill Team.
Charlotte Hope plays Annabel Connors
Who is Annabel Connors? Joe Bancroft’s fiancé, who works as a junior doctor. As a child, she saw her mother tragically die in front of her. Her father remarried (giving her two new step-brothers), but now he and her step-mother have both been gruesomely killed. Annabel has “an effortless charm and a chameleon personality that envelopes everyone around her,” and “with sharp intelligence, disarming conversation and an alluring naivety she has always been able to pull people into her orbit.”
What else has Charlotte Hope been in? The actress played Myranda in Game of Thrones, and was Philippa Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Recently she’s appeared as Catherine of Aragon in The Spanish Princess and as Sister Victoria in horror movie The Nun.
David Avery plays Jake Harper
Who is Jake Harper? The Detective Superintendent is “an exemplary police officer” who enters Bancroft’s world when the police merger kicks in. “Highly intelligent and with adept profiling skills, Jake is able to bring a focused, objective analysis of the investigation with the desire for justice at the centre of his leadership. These skills allow him to see through the practiced charades so often presented, by both the guilty and innocent.”
What else has David Avery been in? Credits include Freddie Hamid in John le Carré drama The Night Manager, Anthony in Gangs of London, Officer Brown in Liar, Xanthius in Troy: Fall of a City, and Nico in Strike.
Ryan McKen plays Daanish Kamara
Who is Daanish Kamara? We met Daanish in series one, when Elizabeth Bancroft got him behind bars and persuaded him to betray his older brother, the ruthless gang leader Atif Kamara. With Atif out of the way, Bancroft and Daanish came to a secret agreement; they now work hand in glove, arranging and controlling the drugs trade in the area.
“Elizabeth Bancroft has become a significant and anchoring relationship in his life and this partnership has made Daanish a dangerous man,” ITV explains. “With no family hierarchy to bind him, senior police protection and the intelligence his brother lacked, Daanish is a force to be reckoned with. Despite this new found power, Daanish still fears his mother. When Mrs Kamara returns from Pakistan, seeking revenge for her favourite son’s murder, Daanish must rely on Bancroft to save him.”
What else has Ryan McKen been in? McKeen has played Ziyaad Kader in The State, DC Leo Rainsford in Save Me, Faraz Reza in Strangers, DI Rob Moloney in Temple, and Khan in Line of Duty. He even made an appearance as a Lannister Soldier in Game of Thrones.
Charles Babalola plays Andy Bevan
Who is DS Andy Bevan? In series one, he was having an affair with his colleague, Katherine, but his defining feature was ego and he had ambition to climb the ranks. These days, however, his boss – Bancroft – has involved him in her corruption. “Brought in by Bancroft as the point man for the deal with Daanish, Andy’s head has been turned by the power, backhanders and the respect he believes he now has,” ITV says. “However, when the partnership with Daanish begins to require more managing than Andy wants or indeed is capable of providing, his judgement makes him an unreliable and a weak link for Bancroft.”
What else has Charles Babalola been in? On the big screen, he’s played Kulonga in The Legend of Tarzan, and Andrew in Mary Magdalene. On the small screen, you may have seen him as the character Tusk in Black Mirror episode Hated in the Nation, as DS Jesse Rawlins in Thirteen, or as Ade in Stan Lee’s Lucky Man. He also starred opposite Bryan Cranston in a stage production of Network.
Jacqueline Boatswain plays Frances Holland
Who is Frances Holland? The Chief Constable is “a brisk, buttoned-up woman” who is both talented and experienced, running the force “with a practiced, iron hand.” She is Bancroft’s boss, and as her official character description puts it, “With a genuine care for policing the community she also understands the political and economic game of running a police service in current times. Whilst she will protect her officers, she suffers no fools and will not hesitate in culling the herd to keep the force and its reputation at its most effective and successful. She has sacrificed a great deal for policing and expects others to do the same.”
What else has Jacqueline Boatswain been in? The actress is probably best-known for playing Simone Loveday in Hollyoaks. She’s also starred as Jane in Cuckoo, Monique in Collateral, Patreesha in Shameless, Mrs Bassinger in Grange Hill, and Victoria in Wolfblood.
Francesca Annis plays Carol Bancroft
Who is Carol Bancroft? Surprise! Elizabeth Bancroft has an actual mother. Carol was left to raise her daughter alone, but she found it hard to be a loving mum to the young Elizabeth. “Carol now regrets this and would like nothing more than to have a warm and close relationship with her daughter,” ITV says. “But they just don’t get on. However, this doesn’t stop Carol from occasionally holding up a mirror to Elizabeth and asking her some difficult questions.”
What else has Francesca Annis been in? The BAFTA-winning actress has appeared in Lillie, Dune, Krull, Flipper’s New Adventure, Cranford (as Lady Ludlow), Home Fires (as Joyce Cameron) and Jane Eyre (as Lady Ingram).
Adrian Edmondson plays Cliff Walker
Who is Cliff Walker? Superintendent Cliff Walker is a straight-laced senior officer who we first met in series one. Though he once went up against Bancroft for promotion, he “has been pushed into an increasingly impotent, figure-head position and fighting to prove his relevance and importance within the new service and the modern world of policing.” Cliff is now full of a “burning bitterness”, especially following the death of his protégé DS Katherine Stevens – and he is “obsessed with his need to bring Elizabeth to justice.”
What else has Adrian Edmondson been in? Edmondson’s recent roles have included Daniel Cook in EastEnders, unloving rich dad William in the TV mini-series Cheat, and Max Dennis in Summer of Rockets. He was Count Ilya Rostov in War & Peace, and played Captain Peavey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Lee Boardman plays George Morris
Who is George Morris? Detective Inspector George Morris is dependable, steadfast, reliable and a loyal friend of Elizabeth Bancroft. “However, when George is seconded to work a complicated and brutal homicide case, he must get used to answering to a new boss, pushing his relationship and loyalty with Elizabeth to the brink.”
What else has Lee Boardman been in? Back in the 90s, he played Jez Quigley in Coronation Street. Since then, TV shows have included The Five, Da Vinci’s Demons (as Amerigo Vespucci), and Great Night Out.
Shameem Ahmad plays Mrs Naila Kamara
Who is Mrs Kamara? A clever and ruthless matriarch who quickly realised that it was her son Daanish who betrayed her beloved eldest son, Atif – leading to his death.
As ITV explains, “Mrs Kamara left the UK to grieve. The time away has only served to fuel her disdain and hatred of the police, with her focus on one senior police officer in particular: Bancroft. Returning from Pakistan, she seeks to move from behind the scenes and establish herself as the head of the Kamara family. With her first order of business being revenge against those she holds responsible for the murder of Athif, even if that is against her youngest son, Daanish.”
What else has Shameem Ahmad been in? She was the Chairwoman in 2010 movie Four Lions, and has also put in appearances in Cold Feet, Citizen Khan, Lies We Tell and Happy Valley.
Dominic Doughty plays Martin Mullen
Who is Martin Mullen? Annabel’s step-brother. His mother and step-father were murdered.
What else has Dominic Doughty been in? Dominic Doughty has made a handful of appearances in TV shows including From Darkness, Hollyoaks, DCI Banks, Coronation Street and Tracy Beaker Returns. He played Big Phil in Dream Team, and will appear in upcoming TV shows LIFE and Cobra.
Tom Wells plays Adam Mullen
Who is Adam Mullen? Annabel’s step-brother. His mother and step-father were murdered.
What else has Tom Wells been in? The actor plays Leo King in EastEnders. He also had a stint as Max Bauman in Doctors.
Faye Marsay plays DS Katherine Stevens
Who is DS Katherine Stevens? We’re putting her in our ‘meet the cast’, but ahead of series two it’s not clear whether she’ll actually be back. Last time we saw Katherine, she was in a coma and clinging to life after Elizabeth Bancroft deliberately shot her (and framed Atif Kamara) – so did she survive?
Series writer Kate Brooke teases: “The second series does not pick up directly from the first and I endeavoured to make it work as a ‘stand-alone’ story. But inevitably the events of season one reverberate through it. I was interested to explore how Bancroft could ‘get away with’ shooting Katherine, and yet how that act of violence comes back at her in subtle and devastating ways that she never expected.”
What else has Faye Marsay been in? Faye Marsay played The Waif in Game of Thrones seasons five and six. Recently, you may have seen her as Joanne Aspinall in Deep Water; past credits include Fresh Meat (as Candice), Glue (as Janine), The Bletchley Circle (as Lizzie), Love, Nina (as Nina) and McMafia (as Katya Godman). She also played Shona in 2014 Doctor Who episode Last Christmas.
Bancroft will air across consecutive nights starting on 1st January at 9pm on ITV