New feature length BBC drama Men Up tells the true story of the first clinical trial of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, which took place at Morriston Hospital in Swansea back in 1994.


Described by writer/executive producer Matthew Barry as "funny, heartbreaking, helpful... or Full Monty Viagra", the drama follows five fictional men who sign up for the trial to see if the miracle pill can help their impotence, and also introduces us to their partners, as well as the doctor and nurse who monitor their progress.

The film features familiar faces Iwan Rheon (Wolf), Joanna Page (Gavin & Stacey), Paul Rhys (Saltburn) and Mark Lewis Jones (Gangs of London), to name a few.

Speaking about his new role in the BBC drama, Rheon exclusively revealed to that he actually had an emotional reaction to the first read-through.

He said: "It read really well in the read-through. I don't think I've ever cried in a read-through before.

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"It was just really astonishing to see each storyline for each of these men and everyone involved around them, their family lives, how poignant it was and how heartfelt it was. So I think I knew that it was going to come off with these fantastic actors."

Read on for everything you need to know about the cast of Men Up.

Men Up cast

Cast of Men Up walking up a residential road together
The cast of Men Up. Quay Street Productions/Tom Jackson
  • Iwan Rheon as Meurig
  • Alexandra Roach as Ffion
  • Steffan Rhodri as Colin
  • Lisa Palfrey plays Teresa
  • Phaldut Sharma as Peetham
  • Alex Riley plays Alys
  • Paul Rhys as Tommy
  • Aneurin Barnard as Dr Dylan Pearce
  • Joanna Page as Moira
  • Mark Lewis Jones as Eddie

Iwan Rheon as Meurig

Iwan Rheon smiles in a close-up to the camera while in character as Meurig Jenkins in Men Up
Iwan Rheon as Meurig Jenkins in Men Up.

Who is Meurig? A hospital porter who is married to Ffion, Meurig has been avoiding sex with his wife because he suffers from impotence that is linked to his diabetes, and he hasn’t told her about it.

What else has Iwan Rheon been in? Rheon is best known for his role as evil Ramsay Bolton in Game Of Thrones, and he also starred as Simon in E4’s fantasy series Misfits, and appeared in the BBC dramas Wolf and The Light In The Hall.

Alexandra Roach as Ffion

Ffion Jenkins (ALEXANDRA ROACH), Meurig Jenkins (IWAN RHEON) stansing side by side in the middle of a residential road, with a bicycle in between them
Ffion Jenkins (Alexandra Roach), Meurig Jenkins (Iwan Rheon) in Men Up. Quay Street Productions/Tom Jackson

Who is Ffion? Meurig’s wife, who has had her own health scares and is worried that Meurig no longer finds her attractive. She thinks he may be having an affair.

What else has Alexandra Roach been in? Most recently, Roach appeared as forensic investigator Maggie in the sci-fi series Bodies, and she has also starred in Sanditon, Utopia and Black Mirror.

Steffan Rhodri as Colin

Colin White (STEFFAN RHODRI), sat down in a doctor's office, with a bottle of pills on the table
Colin White (Steffan Rhodri) in Men Up. Quay Street Productions/Tom Jackson

Who is Colin? One of the participants in the drug trial, Colin is a widower who wants to start an in-person relationship with a woman named Teresa, who he has been chatting to for months on the phone.

What else has Steffan Rhodri been in? Beloved as Dave Coaches in Gavin & Stacey, Rhodri has also appeared in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 1, The Hollow Crown, and House Of The Dragon (as Hobert Hightower).

Lisa Palfrey plays Teresa

Lisa Palfrey plays Teresa, sat having dinner with her husband
Lisa Palfrey as Teresa in Men Up. Quay Street Productions/Tom Jackson

Who is Teresa? Colin's phone pal from the Lonely Hearts column. He thinks that she's the one.

Where have I seen Lisa Palfrey? Many viewers will know Palfrey form Sky drama COBRA, BBC Welsh dramas The Pact and The Light in the Hall, BBC thriller Chloe and Netflix comedy Sex Education.

Phaldut Sharma as Peetham

Phaldut Sharma as Peetham on a coastal path, smiling at the camera
Phaldut Sharma as Peetham in Men Up. Quay Street Productions/Tom Jackson

Who is Peetham? Accountant Peet signs up for the clinical trial because he believes there is something wrong with his relationship with his wife that the drug could fix.

What else has Phaldut Sharma been in? Sharma played AJ Ahmed in EastEnders from 2012 to 2014, and also starred in the fourth series of Unforgotten. He has also appeared in Spooks, Hunted, and Gavin & Stacey (as Stacey’s ex-fiancé Achmed).

Alexandria Riley plays Alys

Alex Riley plays Alys Shah, standing next to a clothes rack
Alys Shah (Alexandra Riley) in Men Up. Quay Street Productions/Tom Jackson

Who is Alys Shah? Peetham's wife, who enjoys hosting parties. The couple have lost their spark.

Where have I seen Alex Riley before? Riley's credits include ITV true crime drama The Pembrokeshire Murders, The Pact, coming-of-age drama In My Skin, comedy The Tuckers, and Apple TV+ thriller Silo.

Paul Rhys as Tommy

Tommy Cadogan (PAUL RHYS) standing on the beach
Tommy Cadogan (Paul Rhys) in Men Up. Quay Street Productions/Tom Jackson

Who is Tommy? Encouraged by friend Moira, Tommy is a gay man in a long-term relationship with a teacher (though they keep their relationship secret). Unfortunately, the drug trial is only open to heterosexual men, so he lies and says he is married.

What else has Paul Rhys been in? Rhys made his film debut in 1986 in Absolute Beginners, and since then has appeared in movies including Chaplin (as Charlie’s brother Sydney), Little Dorrit and 2023’s Napoleon and Saltburn. His TV career includes roles in Gallowglass, Being Human, Victoria and A Discovery Of Witches.

Aneurin Barnard as Dr Dylan Pearce

Aneurin Barnard as Dr Dylan Pearce, standing square on looking directly into the camera
Dr Dylan Pearce (Aneurin Barnard) in Men Up. Quay Street Productions/Tom Jackson

Who is Dr Pearce? Pearce is the doctor who has spent years researching impotence and links to diabetes, who runs the first clinical trial at the Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

What else has Aneurin Barnard been in? Barnard played Richard III in the TV series The White Queen, and has also appeared in TV series including The Pact, Time and Peaky Blinders. He’ll next be seen on screen in an episode of the new series of Doctor Who, as the mysterious Roger ap Gwilliam.

Joanna Page as Moira

Joanna Page as Moira, sat down talking to someone, wearing her nurse uniform
Joanna Page as Moira in Man Up. Quay Street Productions/Tom Jackson

Who is Moira? Tommy’s friend, who encourages him to join the trial, Moira is a nurse who works with Dr Pearce, helping to collate evidence and even buying porn videos for the men in the trial.

What else has Joanna Page been in? Best known for her role as Stacey in the romantic comedy series Gavin & Stacey, Page also played ‘Just Judy’ the body double in Love Actually, and her TV appearances include Doctor Who, Midsomer Murders and The Syndicate. She also competed in The Masked Singer in 2022 (as Pig) and appears as a panellist on Loose Women.

Mark Lewis Jones as Eddie

Mark Lewis Jones as Eddie, standing in an office having a conversation with someone
Mark Lewis Jones as Eddie in Men Up. Quay Street Productions/Tom Jackson

Who is Eddie? A handyman and labourer, Eddie is the loudest of the group of men who sign up for the clinical trial.

What else has Mark Lewis Jones been in? Most recently, Lewis Jones has been causing a stir on Fraser’s Ridge in the fantasy series Outlander, alongside appearances in dramas including The Reckoning, Bodies, and The Third Day.

His impressive CV also includes roles in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (as Captain Canady), The Other Boleyn Girl, Being Human, the Welsh drama Hidden and Gangs Of London.

Additional cast includes:

  • Nathan Sussex (It's A Sin, Hollyoaks)
  • Dyfan Dwyfor (A Very English Scandal, Requiem)
  • Katy Wix (Ghosts, Stath Lets Flats)

Men Up is available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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