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Meet the cast of BBC One's Noughts and Crosses

The drama series returns with several new faces.

Noughts + Crosses season 2 key art
Published: Tuesday, 26th April 2022 at 3:40 pm

After a two-year absence, Noughts + Crosses is finally returning to screens with a second season that will conclude the forbidden love story between fugitive Callum McGregor (Jack Rowan) and high society member Sephy Hadley (Masali Baduza).


Based on the acclaimed novel by Malorie Blackman, the series is set in an alternate reality where hundreds of years ago Africa (here known as 'Aprica') colonised Europe and the UK (referred to as 'Albion').

In the present day, white people (or 'noughts') have little chance in life due to rife discrimination, while Black people (or 'crosses') form the ruling elite, with Paterson Joseph's Kamal Hadley among Albion's most influential figures.

Noughts + Crosses has also added comedy stars Judi Love and Michael Dapaah to its cast for season 2, with both taking on dramatic roles as feuding television presenters Chidi and Mensah.

Read on for everything you need to know about the Noughts + Crosses cast.

Jack Rowan plays Callum McGregor

Jack Rowan in Noughts + Crosses season 2

Who is Callum McGregor? Callum is a nought who has grown up in Albion. Last season, he attempted to build a career in the Aprican military but faced extreme bullying from his fellow serviceman, almost all of whom were crosses. He ultimately dropped out amid heightening racial tension, but found himself in an even more dangerous situation after falling in love with childhood friend Sephy, the daughter of a prominent politician. He helps her escape when she is kidnapped by a nought militia and the two of them go on the run.

What else has Jack Rowan been in? Rowan played Bonnie Gold in the fourth and fifth seasons of Peaky Blinders, a role he left in order to film this show. Previously, he played the lead on Channel 4's dark drama series Born to Kill, while coming up he has BBC Three horror comedy Wrecked.

Masali Baduza plays Sephy Hadley

Masali Baduza plays Sephy in Noughts + Crosses
Masali Baduza plays Sephy in Noughts + Crosses BBC

Who is Sephy Hadley? Sephy comes from a wealthy and powerful cross family, as the daughter of powerful politician Kamal Hadley. However, she left her privileged life behind after falling in love with Callum, risking everything to pull him back from the brink of self-destruction. She is now pregnant with his baby, thus making the two of them even more desperate to find a safe place to call home.

What else has Masali Baduza been in? Baduza has made appearances in South African crime thriller Trackers and BBC One drama Around The World in 80 Days. Later this year, she will be seen in much-anticipated Viola Davis drama The Woman King.

Josh Dylan plays Jude McGregor

Josh Dylan in Noughts + Crosses

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 pick a fight with authority figures. This rage leads him to join the dangerous nought Liberation Militia, who are responsible for kidnapping Sephy towards the end of season one. However, he lets her escape with his brother and even kills militia leader Jack Dorn, who had been colluding with Kamal Hadley. Now, he too is living in exile.

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

Helen Baxendale in Noughts + Crosses

Who is Meggie McGregor? Meggie is the mother of Callum and Jude, who once worked for the Hadley family, where she developed a friendship with matriarch Jasmine. Her life was left in ruins by the events of the first season, which saw both her sons become criminals, while her husband was murdered in a nought hate crime. She now lives alone but is strongly suspected by cross authorities of still being in contact with her fugitive relatives.

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.

Paterson Joseph plays Kamal Hadley

Paterson Joseph in Noughts + Crosses

Who is Kamal Hadley? Kamal is Sephy's father and a powerful government official working for the Home Office, who wants to give police more powers to crack down on noughts causing unrest. He has no interest in improving race relations, even conspiring with Liberation Militia leader Jack Dorn to make the atmosphere in Albion even more unrestful.

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 has appeared in dramas Timeless, Vigil and The Mosquito Coast, while he was also part of the star-studded voice cast for Audible's adaptation of The Sandman.

Bonnie Mbuli plays Jasmine Hadley

Bonnie Mbuli in Noughts + Crosses

Who is Jasmine Hadley? Jasmine is Kamal's wife and Sephy's mother. She has been unhappy in her marriage for some time, but no longer has once-trusted friend Meggie to confide in. Now she bears the added burden of being utterly distraught over her daughter's disappearance, wishing for nothing more than for her to come home safely.

What else has Bonnie Mbuli been in? Many of Bonnie's previous roles have been on shows in her native South Africa, but she also starred in one episode of Kenneth Branagh crime drama Wallander.

Jonathan Ajayi plays Lekan Baako

Jonathan Ajayi in Noughts + Crosses season 2
Jonathan Ajayi in Noughts + Crosses season 2 BBC

Who is Lekan Baako? Lekan is Sephy's ex-boyfriend and a member of the Aprican army. He does not think that noughts and crosses should be equal, showing allegiance in the past to Kamal Hadley.

What else has Jonathan Ajayi been in? Ajayi is relatively new to the screen, but did have a small role in DC Comics blockbuster Wonder Woman 1984.

Michael Dapaah plays Mensah

Michael Dapaah in Noughts + Crosses
Michael Dapaah in Noughts + Crosses BBC

Who is Mensah? Mensah is a popular television personality in Albion, who wields a lot of influence among his viewership.

What else has Michael Dapaah been in? Dapaah became a viral comedy hit for his portrayal of fictional rapper Big Shaq, whose breakout single Man's Not Hot reached number three on the UK singles chart.

"Joining the series was a honour, especially because of how renowned Malorie Blackman’s novels are and what they represent," said Dapaah when his role was announced. "I wanted to show people and myself that I can play a role which isn’t so heavily comedic and can do so much more, and I found this character, Mensah, really entertaining, which is always a bonus."

Judi Love plays Chidi Abara

Judi Love plays Chidi in Noughts + Crosses

Who is Chidi Abara? Chidi is Mensah's co-host, with whom he has a difficult relationship off-camera.

What else has Judi Love been in? After starting her career as a stand-up comedian, Love later became a regular panellist for ITV daytime show Loose Women. Last year, she won many new fans following a strong showing on BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing.

Iretiola Doyle plays Empress of Aprica

Iretiola Doyle plays Empress of Aprica in Noughts + Crosses

Who is Empress of Aprica? The Empress is the ultimate power stretching across the Aprican Empire, with her authority trumping even that of Kamal Hadley – much to his chagrin.

What else has Iretiola Doyle been in? Doyle is best known for film and television produced in her home country Nigeria, with recent work including romcom The Wedding Party and action comedy Merry Men.

Stormzy plays Kolawale (season 1)

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 in 2019, which produced three top 10 singles including number one hit Vossi Bop. His third studio album is expected to be released this year. He took on an acting role in Noughts and Crosses due to his love for the books on which the show is based.

"As a diehard fan of Malorie's novels, being a part of this important show is a dream come true," he says.

Ian Hart plays Ryan McGregor (season 1)

Ian Hart stars in Tin Star
Ian Hart in Sky Atlantic's Tin Star

Who is Ryan McGregor? Ryan was Callum and Jude's father. Tragically, he was beaten to death in prison, after falsely taking credit for a terrorist attack to get his sons out of trouble with the oppressive regime.

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, historical drama The Last Kingdom and crime thriller The Responder.

Shaun Dingwall plays Jack Dorn (season 1)

Who is Jack Dorn? Dorn is the dangerous leader of the Liberation Militia. Although he was initially a role model of sorts to Jude, their relationship soured when Jack's tactics became increasingly extreme. At the end of season one, Jude kills Jack in order to save Sephy's life.

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 Maigret, BBC Two's Responsible Child, and Netflix crime drama Top Boy.

Noughts and Crosses returns to BBC One at 10:40pm on Tuesday 26th April 2022. All episodes streaming on iPlayer. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.


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