New BBC drama Four Lives – which kicked off on BBC One on Monday 3rd January 2022 – follows the story of serial killer Stephen Port and the four men he brutally murdered.


The drama explores the point of view of the families of Port’s victims as their fight for justice for the men whose lives he took plays out on screen.

In this way, writer Neil McKay (Appropriate Adult, See No Evil: The Moors Murders) promised the drama would “shed new light” on the so-called Barking Murders.

“Four young men with their entire future ahead of them lost their lives in a brutal and tragic way,” he said. “This is a story not only of the consequences of that loss but also of the extraordinary courage and resilience shown by those who loved them as they sought truth and justice. It is a privilege to be able to tell it.”

Four Lives went into production in 2019, but the true-crime drama was pushed back several times. McKay recently gave a reason for the delays.

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Speaking to the press including, he explained: “We’d shot it quite some time ago but we weren’t able to transmit it because the inquest was a jury inquest.

"If it had been a non-jury inquest, we would have been able to transmit it. But being a jury inquest, it could have been argued that we might influence the jury, you know, a powerful, emotional drama like this, so we were fully braced and aware as to whether we might need to do some re-editing, some adjustments and all that kind of thing.”

However, in the end, the team behind Four Lives decided not to change any part of their drama.

“We kept a close eye on the inquest but in the end, the version we have, the inquest conclusions gave us our closing captions. We followed the inquest, but it didn’t in any significant way alter our account of events,” McKay explained.

Four Lives employs a large ensemble cast to tell its story, featuring many recognisable faces from across television, film and theatre. Read on for our guide to the cast, led by Sheridan Smith as Sarah Sak.

Who is in the cast of BBC One's Four Lives?

Sheridan Smith plays Sarah Sak

Four Lives (BBC)

Who is Sarah Sak? Sarah is the mother of Anthony Walgate, Port's first victim. From the beginning, she does not agree with the verdict that her son died from an overdose of GHB, feeling instead that he must have been murdered by whoever administered the drug. However, she finds that her pleas for further investigation fall on deaf ears.

What else has Sheridan Smith been in? Sheridan Smith OBE first rose to fame with roles in sitcoms The Royle Family, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Gavin & Stacey, and Benidorm. The award-winning actress also played Joey Ross on Jonathan Creek and has starred in a number of acclaimed TV dramas including Mrs Biggs, Cilla, The C Word, and The Moorside. She has also performed in the West End musicals Little Shop of Horrors, Legally Blonde, and Funny Girl.

Jakub Svec plays Gabriel Kovari

Gabriel (JAKUB SVEC) in Four Lives
BBC/ITV Studios/Ben Blackall

Who is Gabriel Kovari? Gabriel was a Slovakian national who had recently moved to London. After a few weeks staying with John Pape, he briefly lived with Port in Barking, after meeting him online.

What else has Jakub Svec been in? Four Lives appears to be Svec's first screen credit.

Tim Preston plays Anthony Walgate

Anthony (TIM PRESTON) in Four Lives
BBC/ITV Studios/Aimee Spinks

Who is Anthony Walgate? Anthony was a fashion student living in London, who occasionally worked as an escort to help fund his studies. He was contacted by Stephen Port under a false name, who offered him £800 for a single overnight job.

What else has Tim Preston been in? Preston previously appeared in the Martin Clunes sitcom Warren and the English/Welsh crime drama Bang.

Leo Flanagan plays Daniel Whitworth

Daniel (LEO FLANAGAN), Ricky (ROBERT EMMS) in Four Lives
Leo Flanagan as Daniel and Robert Emms as Ricky BBC/ITV Studios/Aimee Spinks

Who is Daniel Whitworth? Daniel was a chef and the longtime partner of Ricky Waumsley. He became the third victim of Port after meeting him in Barking in September 2014.

What else has Leo Flangan been in? Flanagan played Floyd Westbrook on Waterloo Road, Charlie Duffy in the Doctor Who episode Kerblam! and Robbo in Billie Piper's directorial debut Rare Beasts.

Paddy Rowan plays Jack Taylor

Jaime Winstone as Donna, Paddy Rowan as Jack, Stephanie Hyam as Jenny

Who is Jack Taylor? Taylor was a forklift operator and aspiring police officer from Essex, who became the final victim of Port in September 2015.

What else has Paddy Rowan been in? Rowan played Sean Mercer in Little Boy Blue and David McNally in this year's Time opposite Sean Bean and Stephen Graham.

Stephen Merchant plays Stephen Port

Four Lives, Stephen Merchant
BBC/ITV Studios/Britbox

Who is Stephen Port? Port is a convicted serial rapist and serial killer, currently serving a life sentence for his crimes. He received a whole life order in September 2016, which means that he will never be released from prison. In December 2021, an inquest jury ruled that failings by the Metropolitan Police contributed to the deaths of his final three victims.

What else has Stephen Merchant been in? Best known for co-creating The Office and Extras alongside Ricky Gervais, Merchant recently starred in, co-wrote and co-directed BBC comedy-drama The Outlaws. He is also known for playing Caliban in 2017 film Logan and Captain Deertz in 2019's Jojo Rabbit, and for directing the 2019 film Fighting with My Family.

Michael Jibson plays DC Slaymaker

DC Slaymaker (Michael Jibson) – second from left BBC/ITV Studios/Aimee Spinks

Who is DC Slaymaker? DC Paul Slaymaker was the family liaison officer assigned to the family of Anthony Walgate. He was criticised by Sarah Sak in the recent inquest into Port's victims' deaths, as she felt he was not receptive to her fears that her son had been murdered. He rejected the criticism levelled at him by the family and insisted he “tried [his] hardest to support them the best way [he] could”.

What else has Michael Jibson been in? Jibson's recent TV roles include playing Tecwen Whittock in ITV drama Quiz and Stuart Reeves in ITV's Honour. He also played Lieutant Hutton in the Oscar-winning movie 1917.

Rufus Jones plays John Pape

John Pape (RUFUS JONES) in Four Lives
BBC/ITV Studios/Ben Blackall

Who is John Pape? John Pape was a friend to the late Gabriel Kovari, who attempted to provide the Met Police with information that he believed could help link his former tenant's death to another that occurred nearby.

What else has Rufus Jones been in? Jones is known for playing David Wilkes on W1A and Bernard Delfont in 2018 film Stan & Ollie. He also wrote and starred in Channel 4 comedy-drama Home.

Daniel Ryan plays Adam

Adam (DANIEL RYAN) in Four Lives
BBC/ITV Studios/Aimee Spinks

Who is Adam? Adam is the father of Daniel Whitworth.

What else has Daniel Ryan been in? Ryan is known for playing Darren Alexander on Linda Green, Bryan Brindsley on Home Fires, Dan on Mount Pleasant and DI Tony Manning in The Bay.

Alexa Davies plays Kiera

Keira (Alexa Davies) in Four Lives
Alexa Davies as Keira – far left BBC/ITV Studios/Ben Blackall

Who is Kiera? Kiera was another friend of Anthony's from university.

What else has Alexa Davies been in? Davies played Yvonne on Cradle to Grave, Aretha Garry on Channel 4's Raised by Wolves, Betsy Fletcher in Harlots, Kate in Detectorists, and Meg in Dead Pixels. In 2020, she also starred in another factual drama, playing Julie Mugford in White House Farm.

Isabella Laughland plays China

China (ISABELLA LAUGHLAND) in Four Lives
BBC/ITV Studios/Aimee Spinks

Who is China? China had been a friend to Anthony Walgate during his time at university.

What else has Isabella Laughland been in? Laughland played Louise Graham on The Inbetweeners, Leanne in the Harry Potter movies, Swift in the Black Mirror episode Fifteen Million Merits and recently portrayed Elizabeth Brown in Channel 5 drama Anne Boleyn.

Robert Emms plays Ricky

Robert Emms as Ricky in Four Lives
BBC/ITV Studios/Aimee Spinks

Who is Ricky? Ricky had been the longterm partner of Daniel Whitworth. He has claimed that he was "pushed out" of the investigation into his death by police, believing "it was because we were a gay unmarried couple". During the inquest into the deaths of Port's victims, Coroner Sarah Munro QC ruled out homophobia as an issue in the case, and the Metropolitan Police has also denied any suggestion of "institutional homophobia".

What else has Robert Emms been in? Emms played Pythagoras in the BBC One fantasy-adventure series Atlantis, and Leonid Toptunov in HBO's Chernobyl. He has also appeared in Happy Valley and His Dark Materials and played Jack in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Jaime Winstone plays Donna

Jaime Winstone plays Donna in Four Lives

Who is Donna? Donna is one of Jack Taylor's sisters, who personally looked into her brother's death, believing it could not possibly have been a drug overdose.

What else has Jaime Winstone been in? Winstone is known for playing Becky in the film Kidulthood and Kelly in the E4 horror series Dead Set. She played Anneli Alderton in 2010's Five Daughters and Barbara Windsor in 2017's Babs. She is also the daughter of actor Ray Winstone.

Stephanie Hyam plays Jenny

Stephanie Hyam plays Jenny in Four Lives

Who is Jenny? Jenny is also one of Jack's sisters, who worked closely alongside Donna to compile information related to his death.

What else has Stephanie Hyam been in? Hyam is best known for playing Charlotte Murray on Peaky Blinders, Bill's love interest Heather on Doctor Who and Chanel in BBC thriller Bodyguard.

Leanne Best plays Kate

Leanne Best as Kate in Four Lives
BBC/ITV Studios/Ben Blackall

Who is Kate? Kate is Sarah's sister. She is a key source of support during her fight for justice.

What else has Leanne Best been in? Best played Jane Cobden on Ripper Street and Tina Reynolds on Cold Feet. She has also appeared on Line of Duty, Home Fires and The Good Karma Hospital.

Kris Hitchen plays Tom

Kris Hitchen as Tom in Four Lives
Kris Hitchen as Tom - far left BBC/ITV Studios/Ben Blackall

Who is Tom? Tom is Anthony's father, who separated from Sarah many years ago.

What else has Kris Hitchen been in? Hitchen played Ardoc in Netflix's The Letter for the King and the Duke of Norfolk in Channel 5's Anne Boleyn.

Memet Ali Alabora plays Sami

Memet Ali Alabora as Sami in Four Lives
Memet Ali Alabora as Sami - far left BBC/ITV Studios/Ben Blackall

Who is Sami? Sami is Sarah's new husband. Their relationship is put under intense strain by Anthony's tragic murder.

What else has Memet Ali Alabora been in? Alabora is a Turkish film and theatre actor, known for Yilan Hikayesi (1999), The Dark Face of the Moon (2005) and Trendy (2017).

Samuel Barnett plays Ryan Edwards

Samuel Barnett as Ryan in Four Lives
BBC/ITV Studios/Ben Blackall

Who is Ryan? Ryan lived in the apartment block opposite Stephen Port and was the closest thing he had to a friend.

What else has Samuel Barnett been in? Barnett first rose to fame for his performance in The History Boys and later played the lead role in BBC America's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. He also has appeared on the BBC's Twenty Twelve and Showtime's Penny Dreadful.

Also featured in the cast: Holly Aird (A Discovery of Witches) plays Jeanette Taylor, Ian Puleston-Davies (Coronation Street) plays Karl Turner MP, Shaun Thomas (Ladhood, Emmerdale) plays Paul, Ella Kenion (The Green Green Grass) plays Mandy Pearson.

Four Lives' third and final episode will air on Wednesday 5th January at 9pm on BBC One. Episodes will be made available on BBC iPlayer from the same time.


Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.