BBC One’s ambitious new drama Noughts and Crosses brings Malorie Blackman’s prolific young adult novels into live action for the first time.
The series is set in an alternate reality where Africa (known as Aprica in the show) colonised Europe and the UK (referred to as Albion) hundreds of years ago, organising modern society through race and class.
White people are disadvantaged and called “noughts”, while black people form the ruling elite and are known as “crosses”.
Here’s everything you need to know about the cast of BBC One’s Noughts and Crosses…
Jack Rowan plays Callum McGregor
Who is Callum McGregor? Callum is a nought who has grown up in Albion. He comes from a lower class background but sees a way out of his situation when an opportunity arrives to join the Aprican military. In the meantime, he assists his mother who works for a wealthy cross family.
What else has Jack Rowan been in? Rowan played Bonnie Gold in the fourth and fifth series of Peaky Blinders, a role he left in order to film this show. He was also the lead on Channel 4’s dark drama series Born to Kill, about a school boy with psychopathic tendencies.
Masali Baduza plays Sephy Hadley
Who is Sephy Hadley? Sephy comes from a wealthy and powerful cross family, as the daughter of Home Office minister Kamal Hadley. She and Callum knew each other when they were children, but haven’t spoken in many years. They are reintroduced while Callum is working at a party hosted in Sephy’s house.
What else has Masali Baduza been in? Baduza is a relative newcomer to the screen, but did appear in the South African crime thriller Trackers which aired last year.
Josh Dylan plays Jude McGregor
Who is Jude McGregor? Jude is Callum’s hot-headed older brother. He is angry with how noughts are treated in Aprican society and quick to get in a fight with authority figures. Jude is angry about Callum’s decision to join the military, which he views as an oppressive force to noughts living all over Albion.
What else has Josh Dylan been in? Dylan was most recently seen in the second season of Channel 4’s The End of the F***ing World, where he played Alyssa’s husband Todd. Previously, he starred in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again as the younger version of Bill (Stellan Skarsgård).
Helen Baxendale plays Meggie McGregor
Who is Meggie McGregor? Meggie is the mother of Callum and Jude, who works for the wealthy Hadley family and has done for many years. She is a trusted member of staff there, shown to be friends with the mother of the household, Jasmine.
What else has Helen Baxendale been in? Gaining international recognition in the ’90s as controlling girlfriend Emily in Friends, Baxendale has starred in several other big shows including Cold Feet, Dirk Gently and Cuckoo.
Ian Hart plays Ryan McGregor
Who is Ryan McGregor? Ryan is Callum and Jude’s father, who fears for his eldest son and doesn’t want him getting in trouble by rebelling against the crosses.
What else has Ian Hart been in? Hart will be known to many as the bumbling Professor Quirrel, later revealed to be Lord Voldemort himself, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. More recently, he has appeared in the acclaimed indie film God’s Own Country and BBC Two’s historical drama The Last Kingdom.
Paterson Joseph plays Kamal Hadley
Who is Kamal Hadley? Kamal is Sephy’s father as well as a powerful government official working for the Home Office, who wants to give police more powers to crack down on noughts causing unrest.
What else has Paterson Joseph been in? Joseph played the iconic Alan Johnson in Channel 4 comedy series Peep Show, collaborating with David Mitchell and Robert Webb again as a regular on their BBC sketch show. More recently, he appeared as DCI Wes Leyton in Law & Order: UK and had a starring role in American science-fiction series Timeless.
Bonnie Mbuli plays Jasmine Hadley
Who is Jasmine Hadley? Jasmine is Kamal’s wife and Sephy’s mother. She is not happy in her marriage and confides in Meggie, her home help.
What else has Bonnie Mbuli been in? Many of Bonnie’s previous roles have been on shows in her native South Africa, but she has also starred in one episode of Kenneth Branagh crime drama Wallander.
Stormzy plays Kolawale
Who is Kolawale? Kolawale is the editor of a newspaper called the Ohene Standard.
What else has Stormzy been in? Stormzy is a hugely popular musician who released his second album Heavy is the Head last year, which produced three top 10 singles including number one hit Vossi Bop. He took on an acting role in Noughts and Crosses due to his love for the books on which it is based.
“As a diehard fan of Malorie’s novels, being a part of this important show is a dream come true,” he says.
Shaun Dingwall plays Jack Dorn
Who is Jack Dorn? Dorn is a dangerous nought rebel who Jude associates himself with.
What else has Shaun Dingwall been in? Dingwall played Rose’s father Pete in Doctor Who and took on another paternal role in the Only Fools prequel series Rock and Chips. More recently, he has appeared in Rowan Atkinson’s crime drama Maigret and BBC Two’s Responsible Child.
Jonathan Ajayi plays Lekan Baako
Who is Lekan Baako? Lekan is Sephy’s boyfriend and a member of the Aprican army. He is disrespectful to Callum when they first meet, mispronouncing his name and doubting his odds of being accepted into the military.
What else has Jonathan Ajayi been in? This summer, Ajayi will appear in the high-profile new DC Comics film Wonder Woman 1984.
Noughts and Crosses airs on BBC One at 9pm on Thursday 5th March