Dark Money is a thought-provoking drama about the Mensahs, an ordinary working-class family from London whose youngest son seems destined for stardom – having just flown back from America where he filmed a major Hollywood movie role.
But the Mensahs’ world is shattered when Isaac reveals he was abused out in America by the film’s big-name producer. Unsure about their next steps, his parents decide to accept a substantial pay-off and agree to keep silent. But as the BBC has hinted, “damage runs deep, and the price of taking the money may be too high.”
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Written by Bafta-nominated screenwriter Levi David Addai, the four-part drama stars Jill Halfpenny and Babou Ceesay. Here are the cast and characters you need to know…
Jill Halfpenny plays Sam Mensah
Who is Sam Mensah? Sam is married to Manny Mensah and they have two children together: daughter Jess and son Isaac, a child actor who has just filmed a major role in a Hollywood movie. But when he returns from America, she is devastated to learn that he was molested by a world-famous film producer.
What else has Jill Halfpenny been in? Aside from her famous Strictly Come Dancing jive back in 2004, Jill Halfpenny is best-known for starring as Kate in EastEnders and Rebecca Hopkins in Coronation Street. More recently she has appeared in Three Girls (as Julie Winshaw), Liar (as Jennifer), Year of the Rabbit (as Flora), In the Club (as Diane) and Humans (as Jill Drummond).
Babou Ceesay plays Manny Mensah
Who is Manny Mensah? Manny is extremely proud of his son Isaac and has big dreams for his future acting career. He has two children with his wife Sam, but also has a child from a previous relationship – a son called Tyrone. Manny works in a cinema in Leicester Square and has a few financial problems.
What else has Babou Ceesay been in? In the last few years Babou Ceesay has worked on a series of high-profile shows and movies, including Half of a Yellow Sun, Eye int he Sky, and Rogue One – in which he played Lieutenant Sefla. He starred in the BBC TV movie Damilola, Our Loved Boy, and was nominated for the Best Actor Bafta award. Other recent credits include Into the Badlands, Guerrilla, and National Treasure.
Max Fincham plays Isaac Mensah
Who is Isaac Mensah? While the Mensahs are a normal family from North London, Isaac is a brilliant child actor who has just filmed a breakout role in a major Hollywood movie, Valiant and Son, and looks destined for greatness. His family are excited to welcome him home – but when he steps off the plane, it becomes clear something is very wrong. To his parents’ horror, Isaac reveals he was molested by the film’s big-name producer.
What else has Max Fincham been in? The actor recently played the young Tim Goodman in Pokémon Detective Pikachu, and Thomas in TV series The Alienist.
Ellen Thomas plays Maggie Mensah
Who is Maggie Mensah? Isaac’s grandma, and Manny’s mum. Maggie is loving, opinionated and rarely stops talking.
What else has Ellen Thomas been in? EastEnders fans will recognise Ellen Thomas as “Watford’s steely matriarch” Claudette Hubbard. She has since appeared in Mount Pleasant (as Nana) and In the Long Run (as Mama) as well as Casualty (as Omo Masters).
Susan Wokoma plays Sabrina Stevens
Who is Sabrina Stevens? Manny’s ex, and the mother of his son Tyrone. She is happy to co-parent with Manny but clearly has a strained relationship with his wife Sam.
What else has Susan Wokoma been in? Writer and actress Susan Wokoma is perhaps best-known for playing Raquel in Crazyhead and Cynthia in Chewing Gum. She stars in Matt Berry comedy Year of the Rabbit as London’s first female copper Mabel Wisbech, and plays Frankie in the TV series Porters.
Tut Nyuot plays Tyrone Stevens-Mensah
Who is Tyrone Stevens-Mensah? Manny and Sabrina’s son. He is a bit of a troublemaker and frequently gets detentions at school.
What else has Tut Nyuot been in? Having made his TV debut in 2017 as Kitt in Hetty Feather, Tut Nyuot has since played Sanosi Jemal in Casualty.
Olive Gray plays Jess Mensah
Who is Jess Mensah? Isaac’s older sister.
What else has Olive Gray been in? Back in 2006, the young actress played Alice in The Story of Tracy Beaker. Since then she has appeared in EastEnders, Half Moon Investigations, Year Million, and the TV series Home from Home (plays Petra Dillon). Olive Gray has also popped up in Fleabag, Pure, Save Me, and Sex Education.
Rebecca Front plays Cheryl
Who is Cheryl? The professional chaperone who took Isaac to America and looked after him during filming, as neither of his parents could take the time off work.
What else has Rebecca Front been in? Rebecca Front is perhaps best-known for her comedy roles, winning a Bafta for her performance as Nicola Murray in The Thick Of It. Her dramatic roles include the Chief Superintendent in Lewis, Mrs Bennet in Death Comes to Pemberley, Vera in Humans, and Lady Whitworth in Poldark.
Rudi Dharmalingham plays Dominic Nadesan
Who is Dominic Nadesan? A journalist who has previously covered stories about child abuse by the rich and famous.
What else has Rudi Dharmalingham been in? The actor starred as nasally-challenged James in TV series The Split, and has also played Milan in Our Girl. He was Gopan in Strike Back and Alex in Rellik. Back in 2012, Rudi Dharmalingham made a brief appearance in the Doctor Who episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.
John Schwab plays Jotham Starr
Who is Jotham Starr? A well-known Hollywood producer who has his own film production company.
What else has John Schwab been in? If his voice sounds familiar, that’s because he is a prolific video game voice actor. On screen he has also starred in the TV series Trust (as Lang Jeffries), and appeared in the movies The Catcher Was a Spy, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and The Current War.
Joseph May plays Jotham Starr’s lawyer Brett
Who is Brett Huntley? Jotham Starr’s slimy American legal counsel.
What else has Joseph May been in? If his voice sounds familiar, that’s because British-born Canadian actor Joseph May is actually the American voice of Thomas the Tank Engine. And if his face look familiar, May’s on-screen credits include Episodes, The Windsors (as Justin Trudeau) and Holby City.
Hannah-Lee Osborn plays Mira Starr
Who is Mira Starr? Jotham’s wife.
What else has Hannah-Lee Osborn been in? The Australian actress has appeared in Jungleland, Boogie Man, and Beneath the Shadows.