Meet the cast of My Mother and Other Strangers

Hattie Morahan and Aaron Staton star in the new period drama series


My Mother and Other Strangers: it’s 1943 in a small town in Northern Ireland, and the community is trying to adjust to wartime life as a huge contingent of US airmen set up a new base nearby.


Actress Hattie Morahan leads the cast in the new five-part series. Find out more about all the characters and actors here.

Rose Coyne – played by Hattie Morahan


Parish school teacher Rose Coyne is respected by the community and loved by her family. She met husband Michael in England, and followed him back to his native island to raise a family. But when dashing young American airman Captain Dreyfuss arrives on the scene, she begins to question whether she really belongs in Moybeg at all.

Actor Hattie Morahan was actually pregnant during filming for My Mother and Other Strangers, but thanks to some smart work from the costume department you won’t be able to tell. Morahan starred in fellow wartime drama The Bletchley Circle on ITV, and has period drama credentials aplenty – she was Elinor Dashwood in BBC Austen adaptation Sense & Sensibility. She’s also been a recurring guest star in BBC comedy Outnumbered, playing Pete’s irritating sister Jane. Her next big screen appearance will be in Disney’s live action version of Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.

Michael Coyne – played by Owen McDonnell


Michael is head of the Coyne family, who have been at the heart of the town for generations. They run the local pub, shop and manage the family farm; with all that work, it’s inevitable that he grows distant from his wife…

Irish actor Owen McDonnell is best known to Irish audiences for his role in RTE drama Single-Handed. It was his first ever TV gig, but the series ended up running for 13 episodes. On UK TV he’s featured in Silent Witness, and had a recurring role in Sky 1 comedy drama Mount Pleasant.

Captain Ronald Dreyfuss – played by Aaron Staton


Suave US airman Captain Dreyfuss is the key link between the new American Air Force base and the town of Moybeg. He acts as the military liaison officer, and so inevitably will have plenty of reasons to get to know the Coyne family.

American actor Aaron Staton is best known for his role as talented ad man Ken Cosgrove in smash US drama Mad Men. He’s also recently had a recurring role in Sky Atlantic drama Ray Donovan. Outside of TV, he’s also starred in video game L.A. Noire as main character Cole Phelps; check out his motion capture work below.

Emma Coyne – played by Eileen O’Higgins


Sprightly 16-year-old Emma is the Coynes’ eldest child, and is taking a gap year before going to university. Not quite ready to fly the nest, Emma’s life too is set to change with the arrival of the American flying boys.

Northern Irish actor Eileen O’Higgins recently made her movie debut in Oscar-nominated film Brooklyn, the big screen adaptation of the novel by Colm Tóibín. She also appeared in the BBC’s 2009 adaptation of Emma.

Ned Hanlon – played by Des McAleer


Like the Coynes, the Hanlon family have been part of Moybeg life for years, working as fishermen on the nearby Lough. Unlike the Coynes, they aren’t exactly looked upon fondly in the community. Father Ned, along with his sons Davey and Mickey Joe, aren’t impressed by the new American arrivals – their ancestral land was razed to make way for the base, and they aren’t about to forget the damage done.

Northern Irish actor Des McAleer said he took on the role in My Mother and Other Strangers because it reminded him of home. “It captures the world of my parents,” he said. “I live across the water so it gives me the chance to come home and reconnect with that entire world again which I miss.” McAleer has appeared in series including Silent Witness, The fear, Wuthering Heights and more.

Guest cast

Episode 1: Corey Cott plays Lieutenant Frank Barnhill

Episode 2: Brian Milligan plays the Bayliff Billy Prince, and Nick Dunning plays Resident Magistrate Sir Frederick Stewart

Episode 3: Niall Buggy plays Clarrie Marsden


Episode 4: Fiona Button plays Vera