New BBC drama Life After Life is based on Kate Atkinson's 2013 novel.


It follows the story of Ursula, a character born in 1910, who dies and is reborn in a continuous loop, returning with nothing except a strange sense of déjà vu and some inexplicable self-protective instincts.

Last Night in Soho star Thomasin McKenzie leads the cast in the role of Ursula, while Fleabag's Sian Clifford stars as Ursula's mother Sylvie, and Mare of Easttown's James McArdle plays Ursula's father Hugh.

McKenzie said of her casting in a statement: "I'm drawn to Life After Life because it makes me laugh, cry, clench my fists in anger, or whoop with empowerment.

“Bash [Doran - the director] has done a stunning job at adapting Kate Atkinson's masterpiece, and working with John [Crowley, director] has already taught me a great deal - reinforcing my love for collaborating and creating."

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Read on for all the cast and characters in Life After Life.

Thomasin McKenzie plays Ursula

Life After Life
Thomasin Mckenzie as Ursula in Life After Life BBC

Who is Ursula? A young woman who can die and be reborn an infinite amount of times, she is the protagonist of the famed book of the same name.

Speaking about filming the historical sci-fi drama, Thomasin McKenzie said that it was "quite hard" portraying a full range of emotions in a day of filming when shooting scenes from Ursula's multiple lives.

"It’s a really tough thing as some days I would turn up on set and not realise how intense some of the scenes would be," she said. "I didn’t take into account how much that would affect the other scenes we were doing that day that might be lighter or from one of Ursula’s different lives."

Where have I seen Thomasin McKenzie before? She played Lola in Oscar-winner The Power of the Dog, and is known for her breakout role in Jojo Rabbit. She also starred in the horror film Old; Last Night in Soho (as Eloise); The King; and Leave No Trace.

James McArdle plays Hugh

Life After Life
James McArdle plays Hugh in Life After Life

Who is Hugh? Ursula's loving father, Hugh is a devoted family man.

Where have I seen James McArdle before? He played Deacon Mark Burton in Mare of Easttown, and the scheming brother of Mary, Queen of Scots in the film starring Saoirse Ronan. He's also starred in Ammonite, '71, and Love & Marriage.

Sian Clifford plays Sylvie

Sian Clifford in BBC Two's Life After Life
BBC/House Productions/Nick Wall

Who is Sylvie? Sylvie Todd is Ursula's very traditional mother, who gives birth to her young daughter during a snowstorm.

Where have I seen Sian Clifford before? Viewers will recognise Clifford for her role as Claire, Fleabag's put-together sister in the award-winning BBC Three comedy-drama starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She also played Diana Ingram in Quiz; Martha Crawley in the 2018 version of Vanity Fair; and will play Agent Salmakia in His Dark Materials season 3.

Jessica Brown Findlay plays Izzie

Life After Life
Jessica Brown Findlay plays Izzie in Life After Life

Who is Izzie? Ursula's free-spirited aunt, who (unlike her sister Sylvie) rebelled against her conservative upbringing.

Where have I seen Jessica Brown Findlay before? Viewers will know her as Lady Sybil Crawley from Downton Abbey, and as Charlotte Wells in Harlots. Black Mirror fans may also recognise her from the episode 'Fifteen Million Merits', and roles in Brave New World and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Joshua Hill plays Derek Oliphant

Life After Life
Joshua Hill plays Derek Oliphant in Life After Life

Who is Derek Oliphant? A man who Ursula meets during a vulnerable period in one of her lives.

Where have I seen Joshua Hill before? He recently played PC May in the mini-series Small Axe, and has starred in Cruella, Death in Paradise, Prime Suspect 1973, Humans, and the film Pride.

Sean Delaney plays Teddy

Life After Life
Sean Delaney plays Teddy in Life After Life BBC Two

Who is Teddy? Ursula's brother.

Where have I seen Sean Delaney before? He's best known for playing Kenny Stowton (Fiona Shaw's on-screen son) in the BBC drama Killing Eve, but he also recently starred in Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

Patsy Ferran plays Pamela

Life After Life
Patsy Ferran plays Pamela in Life After Life

Who is Pamela? Ursula's sister, friend and confidante.

Where have I seen Patsy Ferran before? She played Sister Blanche in Black Narcissus, and Mercy in Jamestown. She's also starred in Mothering Sunday, How To Build a Girl, Darkest Hour, God's Own Country, and Tom & Jerry: The Movie.

Isla Johnston plays Young Ursula

Life After Life
Isla Johnston plays Young Ursula in Life After Life

Who is Young Ursula? The younger, pre-teen version of Ursula.

Where have I seen Isla Johnston before? The newcomer played the short-haired Young Beth Harmon in The Queen's Gambit on Netflix. Among other roles, she also starred as Lucy Spencer in the series Invasion.

Life After Life airs on Tuesday 19th April at 9pm on BBC Two. You can order Kate Atkinson's novel Amazon. Read more news, interviews and features on our Drama hub, or find something to watch now with our TV Guide.


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