ITV drama Maternal has hooked viewers in with its gripping tale focusing on three women working in frontline medical roles in a post-pandemic Britain.


The new series explores the trials and tribulations of working in the NHS, as well as tackling themes of motherhood and female friendship.

Maternal boasts a cast of familiar faces including Parminder Nagra, Lara Pulver and Lisa McGrillis, as well as another well-known actor: Pulver’s real-life husband, Raza Jaffrey, who appears in Maternal as her character’s ex.

Speaking about what it was like working with her husband, Pulver recently told Radio Times magazine: "I asked our dear friend Parminder Nagra, who lives across the street, if she would read the other parts opposite me on the Zoom meeting with our director and casting directors.

"Parminder got the call the next day to ask if she’d be interested in playing Dr Maryam Afridi. She did her meeting and Raza read opposite her. My husband, my best friend, brilliant script, great show: when does that ever happen?"

Talking about the show, she added: "It’s the first time in 10 years ITV has had a medical drama on its channel. It relates to any working woman who’s also a parent. It’s witty, it’s funny, but it’s also heartbreaking – it’s life. Jacqui Honess-Martin, the writer and creator, hasn’t shied away from any of that."

But who else stars in the new medical drama and where have we seen them before? Read on for everything you need to know about the cast of ITV series Maternal.

Who is in the cast of Maternal?

Lara Pulver plays Catherine MacDiarmid

ITV Maternal Lara Pulver
LARA PULVER as Ms Catherine Macdiarmid in ITV's Maternal. ITV

Who is Catherine MacDiarmid? Catherine is returning to life in surgery after an unexpected pregnancy and the birth of her daughter Ellis. She is a woman striving for success on her own terms, even though her father was once a revered surgeon also. She is the picture-perfect ideal of working motherhood but what drastic measures will she take to retain it?

What else has Lara Pulver been in? Pulver has been in a variety of primetime TV dramas including Spooks, Sherlock and starred in the third series of BBC legal drama The Split.

Parminder Nagra plays Dr Maryam Afridi

The main cast of ITV's Maternal.
The main cast of ITV's Maternal. ITV

Who is Dr Maryam Afridi? As a parent to two children under the age of two, Maryam's life is somewhat chaotic. She is returning to work as a paediatric registrar after two years on maternity leave and her return to City General Hospital is far from a calm one. On her return to work, Maryam is also impacted by an incident that leaves her questioning her own priorities and interests.

What else has Parminder Nagra been in? Many will likely recognise Nagra from her long running role in hit American medical drama ER and Bend It Like Beckham. She has most recently starred in ITV detective drama DI Ray, which has been renewed for a second season, as well as appearing in The Blacklist, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Intergalactic.

Raza Jaffrey plays Jack Oliviera

Maternal ITV Raza Jaffrey
Raza Jaffrey in ITV's Maternal. ITV

Who is Jack Oliviera? Jack is a fellow doctor in City General Hospital and one of Catherine's love interests.

What else has Raza Jaffrey been in? Jaffrey has starred in Homeland, The Serpent Queen, Code Black and Spooks, where he met fellow Maternal co-star and real-life wife Lara Pulver. Speaking about starring together in this upcoming ITV series, Pulver said: "It was wonderful. I did say to him, ‘At what point do you think this is going to be weird?’ It wasn't remotely. I guess that's a testament to him as an actor.

"Also, it served the story because Catherine and Jack needed to have that history, so for us to have that intimacy onscreen wasn't a problem."

Lisa McGrillis plays Dr Helen Cavendish

ITV maternal Lisa McGrillis
Lisa MCGRILLIS as Dr Helen Cavendish in ITV's Maternal. ITV

Who is Dr Helen Cavendish? Mum to three children, Helen is struggling to find work-life balance, not least because her husband, Guy, is a consultant on her very same hospital unit.

The strain on their marriage is already growing but add Guy's recent affair with a 24-year-old colleague, and Helen has some serious choices to make about her marital future. She's seen as the rock of her Acute Medical Unit, effectively diagnosing patients and teaching young doctors – but will she be able to hold everyone and everything together?

What else has Lisa McGrillis been in? McGrillis starred opposite Lesley Manville in BBC sitcom Mum and has also starred in Death in Paradise, No Offence, Deadwater Fell and more recently, Channel 4's Somewhere Boy.

Oliver Chris plays Guy Cavendish

ITV Maternal Oliver Chris
LISA MCGRILLIS as Helen Cavendish, JENNIFER DIXON as Tessa Joseph, CHERYL MACKIE as Mrs William and OLIVER CHRIS as Guy Cavendish. ITV

Who is Guy Cavendish? Guy is a consultant on the Acute Medical Unit alongside wife Helen. He's also recently had an affair with his 24-year-old colleague, which has resulted in the Cavendish's marriage reaching an all-time low.

What else has Oliver Chris been in? Motherland fans will recognise Chris as Julia's almost non-existent husband Paul. He has also starred in Apple TV+'s Trying, The Crown, A Very British Scandal and Silent Witness.

As well as the main characters, further supporting Maternal cast members include:

  • Abhin Galeya as Raz Farooqu
  • Julie Graham as Susan Fisher
  • Alexander Karim as Lards Nordstrom
  • Aurora Jones as Maggie Cavendish
  • Mat Fraser as Steve
  • Hayden Gwynne as Anne MacDiarmid
  • Matilda Ziegler as Becky Hillford
  • Shaheen Khan as Sania Masoom
  • Sabina Arthur as Kim Allerton
  • Dean Ridge as Simon Segman
  • D’Vante Hart as Edward
  • Cheryl Mackie as Mrs Williams
  • Darren Hart as Mr Williams
  • Cleo Sylvestre as Mrs Osei
  • Jennifer Macbeth as Tessa Joseph
  • Elizabeth Dulau as Louise Pennycook
  • Stephanie Jacob as Mrs Smith
  • Joe Thomas as Mat Malyon
  • Guy Rufus Williams as Prof Thomas
  • Bill Skinner as Will
  • Elan Butler as Freddie

Maternal airs on ITV1 and ITVX on Monday 16th January at 9pm. Check out our TV Guide or Streaming Guide, or visit our Drama hub for more news and features.


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