In playwright and screenwriter David Hare’s new BBC drama Roadkill, Hugh Laurie leads an impressive cast including Helen McCrory, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Pip Torrens and Sarah Greene.
The four-part political thriller features a ton of big-name stars, as well as a handful of up-and-coming actors.
Here are all the characters you’ll meet in the drama, as well as the actors who play them.
Hugh Laurie plays Peter Laurence MP
Who is Peter Laurence? A Conservative cabinet minister. As Hugh Laurie describes him: “He begins the story at mid-cabinet level as Transport Secretary and has ambitions to move up the greasy pole. The story is in some regards about the price he is prepared to pay to get to the top position and the price that he forces everyone else to pay, principally his family but also those who pledge their loyalty to him. He is a man who is relatively free of the gravity of guilt and whose life mission is to keep moving forward and not to look back.”
What else has Hugh Laurie been in? Quite a lot of things. With Stephen Fry, he was part of the comedy double act Fry and Laurie; he’s also starred in Jeeves and Wooster, Blackadder, Sense and Sensibility, Avenue 5, The Personal History of David Copperfield (as Mr Dick), Catch-22 (as Major de Coverley), Veep, and of course the long-running American medical drama House – which won him two Golden Globes and a handful of Emmy nominations. He also won a Golden Globe for playing Richard Roper in the John le Carré series The Night Manager, and he has a musical career as a blues musician.
Helen McCrory plays PM Dawn Ellison
Who is Dawn Ellison? The Conservative Prime Minister, who is therefore Peter Laurence’s boss. But as Helen McCrory puts it, “she doesn’t realise how dangerous he is. I think she realises that he is popular and that he is highly ambitious, as she is, and he is without scruples, as she is. But what she doesn’t realise is how many supporters he has.”
What else has Helen McCrory been in? While Helen McCrory plays the Prime Minister in Roadkill, we’ve previously seen her playing the PM’s spouse – specifically, Cherie Blair in 2006’s The Queen and 2010’s The Special Relationship. Many will know her best as Polly Gray from Peaky Blinders; others will know her as Narcissa Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies. Other roles have included Sonia Woodley QC in Quiz, the voice of Stelmaria in His Dark Materials, Kathryn in MotherFatherSon, Madame Kali in Penny Dreadful, and Clair Dowar in James Bond movie Skyfall.
Pip Torrens plays Joe Lapidus
Who is Joe Lapidus? A newspaper editor. Peter Laurence MP made the unusual move of bringing a court case against his newspaper.
What else has Pip Torrens been in? What hasn’t Pip Torrens been in. His 187 screen credits to date include The Crown (as Tommy Lascelles), Preacher (as Herr Starr), Poldark (as Cary Warleggan), Deep State (as William Kingsley), Patrick Melrose (as Nicholas Pratt), Versailles (Cassel), Doctor Who (as Rocastle) and Grantchester (as Edward Kendall). On the big screen, he’s been in The Danish Girl, The Iron Lady, War Horse, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Pride & Prejudice, Tomorrow Never Dies, The Remains of the Day, and Darkest Hour.
Sarah Greene plays Charmian Pepper
Who is Charmian Pepper? A newspaper reporter, who wrote a story about Peter Laurence. He took the newspaper to court and won the case after Charmian changed her story on the witness stand. But why did she do it? And Is Peter Laurence really innocent?
What else has Sarah Greene been in? You may have recently seen her as Lorraine in Normal People, or as Cassie Maddox (and Lexie Mangan) in Dublin Murders; she also starred as Hecate Poole in Penny Dreadful, while other credits include Vikings, Rebellion, Ransom, and upcoming comedy drama Frank of Ireland. On stage, she’s earned an Olivier and a Tony nomination for her role in the West End and Broadway productions of The Cripple of Inishmaan.
Sidse Babett Knudsen plays Madeleine Halle
Who is Madeleine Halle? As Hugh Laurie describes her, she is a woman “whose life was in a state of desperation” until Peter Laurence “extended a hand of friendship and support which turned into something romantic”.
What else has Sidse Babett Knudsen been in? The Danish actress is best known internationally for playing Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg in Borgen, and for playing Theresa Cullen in Westworld. Other credits include Vitello, The Accident, and the TV mini-series 1864.
Pippa Bennett-Warner plays Rochelle
Who is Rochelle? “Rochelle is a high flying Barrister,” says Pippa Bennett-Warner. “We meet her at the beginning of the series when she has just won the Peter Laurence case… At the beginning we meet her doing what regularly she does which is win cases. She is very competent and very good at her job. Over the course of the four episodes she goes on a journey of discovering what’s more important in terms of morality.”
What else has Pippa Bennett-Warner been in? It has been a busy few years for Pippa Bennett-Warner. The actress played Shannon Dumani in Gangs of London, Tamzin in Maxxx, Harriet Lennox in Harlots, and Lauren Elgood in MotherFatherSon (in which she appeared alongside her Roadkill co-star Helen McCrory). She recently appeared in the ITV short film series Unsaid Stories, and has also been in Silent Witness, Doctor who (as Saibra in Time Heist), and The Smoke.
Danny Ashok plays Luke Strand
Who is Luke Strand? A junior barrister who works closely with Rochelle.
What else has Danny Ashok been in? You may have seen him as Aamir Malik in Strike: Lethal White, or as Manish Patel in the disaster drama Cobra. Other credits include Deep Water, Capital, The Five, Finding Fatimah, and The Dumping Ground.
Patricia Hodge plays Lady Roche
Who is Lady Roche? The newspaper proprietor.
What else has Patricia Hodge been in? Oh, so many things! Aside from being an Olivier Award-winning stage actress, Patricia Hodge has had a long TV and movie career. She starred in Rumpole of the Bailey, and is also known for roles including Penny in the comedy series Miranda, Ursula Thorpe in A Very English Scandal, and Geraldine Hackstraw in The Legacy of Reginald Perrin.
Iain de Caestecker plays Duncan Knock
Who is Duncan Knock? Peter Laurence’s special advisor. Iain de Caestecker says: “Duncan is ambitious and he’s married to his job; it definitely occupies a lot of space in his mind, so I think a huge part of his identity is what he does. Being a special advisor is kind of a bit of a controversial role as they work within a governing party and although they aren’t actually voted in by the public, they are politically motivated and do have a political agenda. So he’s probably worked his way up with Peter the past few years and he knows where the bodies are buried, but he’s also complicit in that. He sees Peter as his ticket to the top as well. As much as I think he admires Peter in a big way and looks up to him, he’s got his eyes on his own prize as well.”
What else has Iain de Caestecker been in? He is perhaps best known for playing Leo Fitz in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or for playing Adam Barlow in Coronation Street back in the early noughties. Most recently he played Young Douglas in the TV series Us; other credits across TV and film include Overlord, Not Another Happy Ending, The Fades, Lip Service, Shell, Lost River, and In Fear.
Olivia Vinall plays Julia Blythe
Who is Julia Blythe? Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. As Olivia Vinall puts it, Julia serves as PM Dawn Ellison’s “eyes and ears – nothing gets past her, and their relationship is close and trusting. They have a lot in common in that their careers are the most important thing in both their lives.”
What else has Olivia Vinall been in? Olivia Vinall memorably starred as Laura Fairlie (and also as Anne Catherick) in The Woman in White. Other credits include Apple Tree Yard, in which she played Carrie, and the TV series Queens of Mystery. In the 2013 Doctor Who episode The Crimson Horror, she appeared as the character Effie.
Katie Leung plays Margaret Moore
Who is Margaret Moore? We don’t know much about this character yet, but we do know that she passes on some important information to barrister Rochelle.
What else has Katie Leung been in? The actress first hit our screens as Cho Chang in the Harry Potter movies. Since then, she’s starred as Eleanor in The Nest, Liuli in Chimerica, and Lau Chen in Strangers; she also voiced Too-Ticky in the Moominvalley TV series.
Emma Cunniffe plays Sydney
Who is Sydney? Peter’s chauffeur. They have a friendly relationship, but she clearly has her own opinions.
What else has Emma Cunniffe been in? She’s appeared in quite a few TV series, including Silent Witness (as Jess Fisher), Doctors (as Dr Janet Fielding), Unforgotten series 2 (as Janet) and Coronation Street (as DS Hawthorn). Emma Cunniffe has also been in Doctor Who, playing Claire in the 2011 episode Night Terrors.
Natalie Dew plays Alisha Burman
Who is Alisha Burman? Alisha works for the newspaper.
What else has Natalie Dew been in? Credits include Sandylands, No Offence, The Great, Kiri, and the TV series Bodyguard – in which she played a reporter.
Shalom Brune-Franklin plays Rose Dietl
Who is Rose Dietl? A young woman who contacts Peter Lawrence from a women’s prison, using her friend Steff as a go-between. She has important information to share with him.
What else has Shalom Brune-Franklin been in? The English-born Australian actress starred as Private Maisie Richards in Our Girl, and as Sister Igraine/Morgana in Netflix’s Cursed. Other credits include Doctor Doctor, The State, and Bad Mothers – and she has a role in the upcoming sixth series of Line of Duty, playing a character called Chloe Bishop.
Saskia Reeves plays Helen Laurence
Who is Helen Laurence? Peter’s wife. They were childhood sweethearts and have been married for many, many years; they also have two children together. Helen spends most of her time in Hastings, Peter’s constituency, and conducts an amateur choir.
What else has Saskia Reeves been in? Most recently, she starred as Connie Petersen in David Nicholls drama Us. She’s also been Ellis in Belgravia, Deborah Clifford in David Hare’s previous drama Collateral, Freya Galdie in Shetland, DSU Rose Teller in Luther, and Johane Williamson in Wolf Hall. Her film credits include Our Kind of Traitor, Close My Eyes, and 2020 movie Shadows.
Millie Brady plays Lily Laurence
Who is Lily Laurence? Peter and Helen’s younger daughter. Lily is a student at Leeds, and she finds herself at the centre of a drugs scandal – making headlines because of her father’s high-profile political role.
What else has Millie Brady been in? She is perhaps best-known for playing Aethelflaed in The Last Kingdom. Other TV roles have included Sally Jones in White House Farm and Violette Selfridge in Mr Selfridge; big-screen roles have included Mary Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Catia in the 2017 King Arthur Movie, and Joan Collins in Legend. You may also spot her in an episode of Netflix drama The Queen’s Gambit, in which she plays Cleo.
Ophelia Lovibond plays Susan Laurence
Who is Susan Laurence? Peter and Helen’s older daughter. Susan has disappeared from her parents’ lives.
What else has Ophelia Lovibond been in? Ophelia Lovibond starred as Binky in the TV series Feel Good, as Erica in Trying, and as Izzy Gould in W1A. Other credits include Rocketman (as Arabella), Whiskey Cavalier, Hooten & The Lady, Mr Sloane, Guardians of the Galaxy (as Carina), and 2005’s Oliver Twist (as Bet).
Yolanda Kettle plays Joy Pelling
Who is Joy Pelling? Peter Laurence’s PA, and the keeper of both his diary and his secrets.
What else has Yolanda Kettle been in? She’s been in Marcella (as Becky Marani), The Crown (as Camilla Fry), and Howards End (as Dolly Wilcox).
Guy Henry plays Trevor Quinn
Who is Trevor Quinn? Head of the industry body representing UK arms manufacturers.
What else has Guy Henry been in? Guy Henry played Pius Thicknesse in the Harry Potter movies, and Geand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars movie Rogue One. He’s also known for playing Henrik Hanssen in both Holby City and Casualty.
Gbemisola Ikumelo plays Steff Frost
Who is Steff Frost? A prisoner at the women’s prison with Rose.
What else has Gbemisola Ikumelo been in? She stars in the TV comedy Famalam, and has also been seen in Sex Education, Broadchurch, and Mandy.
Roadkill aired 18th October-8th November at 9pm on BBC One, and is currently airing on PBS Masterpiece in the US on Sundays at 9/8c.