The newest addition to Channel 5's rapidly expanding drama slate is Desperate Measures, a four-parter that's guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.


Amanda Abbington leads the cast of veterans and newcomers as Rowan Taylor, a woman whose world is turned upside down when her son finds himself on the radar of a local gangster.

"It's a really compelling, exciting series and a good story to watch, but it's really about a mother's love and I hope that's what people take away from it," said Abbington.

"It's about what she'll do for her child and whether she gets away with it or not, and it's up to the audience to draw their own moral conclusions.

"If people go away talking about that, then I'll be very happy."

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Who's in the cast of Desperate Measures?

The cast of Desperate Measures is as follows.

  • Amanda Abbington as Rowan
  • Sunetra Sarker as Varisha
  • Warren Brown as Patrick
  • Jesse Cescatti-McFarlane as Finn
  • Francis Magee as Mal
  • Gábor Nagypál as Kristof
  • Harry Rose as Conor
  • Seb Cardinal as Clive Powell
  • Jonathan Nyati as Detective Simmons

For more about the major players in Desperate Measures, read on...

Amanda Abbington plays Rowan

Rowan standing in her living room with a worried expression on her face

Who is Rowan? She's a cashier at a bank and a single mum to a teenage boy. The rug is pulled from under her when her son winds up owing a significant sum of money to a gangster. Her savings won't cover the debt, so she draws up a plan to steal the money from her place of work.

What else has Amanda Abbington been in? She's best known for Sherlock. You might also recognise her from ITV comedy The Family Pile, Netflix's Safe, police drama Wolfe and ITV drama Mr Selfridge.

Sunetra Sarker plays Varisha

Varisha sat at her desk at the bank behind the glass parition

Who is Varisha? Rowan's colleague and friend. As a supervisor at the bank, she has a key to the vault. Varisha discovers what Rowan is planning, but will she help her?

What else has Sunetra Sarker been in? You'll recognise her from Channel 4's Ackley Bridge and Casualty.

Warren Brown plays Patrick

Patrick stood outside in front of a red door looking directly at the camera

Who is Patrick? A figure from Rowan's past who has the means to help her steal the money.

What else has Warren Brown been in? His CV includes BBC drama Luther starring Idris Elba, ITV's Trigger Point with Vicky McClure, The Responder with Martin Freeman and ITV drama Liar, among others.

Jesse Cescatti-McFarlane plays Finn

Finn stood outside in front of a wall looking directly into the camera

Who is Finn? Rowan's son. He's bright and was planning to go to university, but his life now hangs in the balance

What else has Jesse Cescatti-McFarlane been in? He had a minor role in Choose or Die starring Asa Butterfield.

Francis Magee plays Mal

Mal looking into the boot of his car

Who is Mal? Rowan's dad. The pair have a strained relationship, with Mal leaving his daughter to clear up his considerable debits. They haven't spoken in years.

What else has Francis Magee been in? He played Yoren, a member of the Night's Watch, in Game of Thrones and Liam Tyler, Debbie Bates's abusive husband, in EastEnders. You might also have watched him in Netflix's White Lines and AMC's Kin.

Gábor Nagypál plays Kristof

Kristof stood in a warehouse with his arms folded and looking into the camera in a threatening manner

Who is Kristof? The gangster who is threatening to kill Finn if he doesn't receive his money.

What else has Gábor Nagypál been in? He is a Yugoslavian actor who has appeared in numerous TV shows and films native to his country.

Harry Rose plays Conor

Conor stood in a warehouse looking directly into the camera. Light from the windows falls across his face

Who is Conor? One of Kristof's couriers and the reason Finn ends up fighting for his life. The pair were friends when they were younger but drifted apart when Conor became involved in crime.

Seb Cardinal plays Clive Powell

Clive stood in front of the bank's vault looking off to one side. varisha is stood in the vault behind him

Who is Clive Powell? Rowan and Varisha's boss. They have an exceedingly low opinion of him.

What else has Seb Cardinal been in? He received a BAFTA nomination in 2013 for his sketch show Cardinal Burns. He's also had minor roles in BBC Two comedy The Witchfinder, Ricky Gervais's After Life and Julia Davis's comedy Sally4Ever, among others.

There's also Detective Simmons, who's played by Jonathan Nyati. He's had minor roles in Netflix's Treason, Channel 4 comedy This Way Up, Sky's Breeders and BBC comedy Motherland.

Desperate Measures starts tonight (Tuesday 21st February) and is stripped across the next four nights. Looking for something else to watch? Visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide, or take a look at the rest of our Drama coverage.


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