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Sherwood cast – Meet the characters

The BBC One drama is penned by Quiz's James Graham, and is based on a true story.

Lesley Manville in Sherwood rushing out of her house with a shocked expression on her face
Published: Monday, 27th June 2022 at 10:20 pm
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BBC One’s new drama Sherwood has landed, hooking in audiences with an all-too-real true-crime tale from a small former mining community.

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Inspired by the real-life killings that took place in 2004 around Ashfield, Nottingham, the series follows detective Ian St Clair (David Morrissey) as he investigates two shocking and unexpected deaths that rock the local community to its core.

Written by Quiz writer James Graham, the show boasts a huge cast brimming with British acting royalty.

Morrissey, Lesley Manville and Robert Glenister lead the series cast, alongside Liar and Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt and Alun Armstrong, with multiple interweaving stories told over the course of the series, including flashbacks to the miners' strikes.

"As suspicion and antipathy build - both between lifelong neighbours and towards the police forces who descend on the town - the tragic killings threaten to inflame historic divisions sparked during the miners' strike three decades before," the official synopsis reads.

Read on for everything you need to know about the cast and characters in BBC drama Sherwood.

David Morrissey plays Detective Chief Superintendent Ian St Clair

BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is DCS Ian St Clair? A high-ranking police officer in Nottingham.

"His path is in the right place. I guess you could describe him as a pillar of the community," David Morrissey says of his on-screen character. "He then very quickly has to investigate a brutal killing. Someone who he knows from his past, who is killed on the streets he grew up in.

"He has to go back to his childhood area to investigate this terrible death of a man he knows and that puts him back into a community and a place in time and history that was very complicated for the community, and very complicated for him personally."

Where have I seen David Morrissey before? The actor is known for roles in The Walking Dead, The Other Boleyn Girl, Blitz, Welcome to the Punch, Britannia, and in recent years The Singapore Grip, Good Omens, The Missing, The League of Gentlemen and more.

Robert Glenister plays Detective Inspector Kevin Salisbury

BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire BBC

Who is DI Kevin Salisbury? A metropolitan police officer nearing the end of his career.

"Probably the last thing he wants is to be is to be sent to Nottingham, which has memories and echoes of things past. But this huge investigation comes up and he has no choice - either he goes or he's going to be forced to retire," Robert Glenister says of his on-screen character.

Where have I seen Robert Glenister before? He's perhaps best known for starring in the likes of Hustle and Spooks (as the Home Secretary), and in recent years has appeared in Strike, Suspicion, Isolation Stories, Curfew, Cold Feet, and The Aeronauts.

Lesley Manville plays Julie Jackson

Lesley Manville in Sherwood rushing out of her house with a shocked expression on her face
BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Julie Jackson? The wife of a former miner, Gary Jackson, who was on the side of the strikes in the 1980s.

Where have I seen Lesley Manville before? The Oscar-nominated actress is known for the likes of Phantom Thread (as Cyril), Another Year, Maleficent, Life After Life, and more recently was cast as Princess Margaret in The Crown.

Adeel Akhtar plays Andy Fisher

BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire BBC

Who is Andy Fisher? A train driver born and bred in Nottingham, and the father of the groom, Neel, in episode 1.

Where have I seen Adeel Akhtar before? You might recognise the actor from Sweet Tooth on Netflix, or as Lestrade in Enola Holmes. He's also known for Four Lions, Utopia, The Big Sick, Killing Eve, Back to Life, and Les Misérables (the BBC One version).

Joanne Froggatt plays Sarah Vincent

Sherwood
BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire BBC

Who is Sarah Vincent? She's campaigning to be a local councillor, and is engaged to Neel Fisher.

"Sarah is campaigning to be the local councillor so she's very politically aware," Joanne Froggatt explains. "Her political views differ from the bulk of her community because she is campaigning as a Conservative in a predominantly working-class area, a hard Labour constituency. Ashfield has a history with mining and was hugely impacted in the '80s by Thatcher and the miners' strikes."

Where have I seen Joanne Froggatt before? Downton Abbey fans will instantly recognise Froggatt as the ladies maid Anna Smith, later Anna Bates, in the ITV series Downton Abbey and its subsequent spin-off films. She's also appeared in Angela Black (in the title role), Liar, The Harrowing, and The Commons.

Claire Rushbrook plays Cathy Rowley

Cathy Rowley looking into the camera in Sherwood
BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Cathy Rowley? She is Julie's sister. The pair no longer have a relationship due to the fallout from the strike.

Where have I seen Claire Rushbrook before? She recently appeared in Sky series Temple and BBC comedy Don't Forget the Driver. Her CV also includes No Offence, Kiri, Requiem and My Mad Fat Diary, among others.

Kevin Doyle plays Fred Rowley

Fred Rowley looking into the camera in Sherwood
BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Fred Rowley? Fred is Cathy's husband. He used to be a miner and now suffers from a lung condition following his time in the pits.

Where have I seen Kevin Doyle before? He is best known for Downton Abbey.

Adam Hugill plays Scott Rowley

a man with a bow and arrow walking through the forest
BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Scott Rowley? He is Fred's son and Cathy's step-son, who was due to begin a stint in prison for fraud. Scott is the prime suspect in the murder of Gary Jackson.

Where have I seen Adam Hugill before? He appeared in fantasy police series The Watch.

Alun Armstrong plays Gary Jackson

Sherwood
BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire BBC

Who is Gary Jackson? A former striking miner who is unexpectedly murdered in episode 1.

Where have I seen Alun Armstrong before? He played Mr Hafez in The Mummy Returns, and is also known for playing Cardinal Jinette in the Van Helsing franchise, Uncle Garrow from Eragon, and the High Constable from Sleepy Hollow. More recently he has starred in the likes of Breeders and Year of the Rabbit, while is he also well known for his long-running role in New Tricks.

Philip Jackson and Lorraine Ashbourne play Micky and Daphne Sparrow

Sparrow family Sherwood
BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who are Micky and Daphne Sparrow? They are a married couple who run a drug operation, which they conceal behind their taxi business and archery range.

Where have I seen Philip Jackson before? He has appeared in The Good Karma Hospital, Boomers, Peterloo, Raised by Wolves, Poirot and more.

Where have I seen Lorraine Ashbourne before? Her CV includes Bridgerton, Alma's Not Normal, The Crown, Cheat, Unforgotten, Jericho and more.

Perry Fitzpatrick plays Rory Sparrow

Rory Sparrow in Sherwood leaning on the door of his taxi
BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Rory Sparrow? Rory Sparrow is Daphne and Micky's son, who is also involved with the family business.

Where have I seen Perry Fitzpatrick before? His most recent TV credits are Hullraisers and Line of Duty.

Sean Gilder plays Dean Simmonds

Dean Simmonds shouting with his arms outstretched in Sherwood
BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Dean Simmonds? Dean Simmons is a former miner who continued working during the strike, which earned him the nickname "Scab".

Where have I see Sean Gilder before? He has appeared in Shameless, Our Girl, White House Farm and Poldark, among others.

Bally Gill plays Neel Fisher

Sherwood

Who is Neel Fisher? Sarah Vincent's fiancé, and the son of local train driver Andy Fisher.

Where have I seen Bally Gill before? The stage and screen actor is probably best known for Wanderlust, Slow Horses, Manhunt, and This Is Going to Hurt.

Lance O'Reilly-Chapman and Safia Oakley-Green play Lance and Cinderella

Lance and Cinderella with their grandmother Julie in a pub in Sherwood
BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who are Lance and Cinderella? Lance and Cinderella are Julie and Gary's grandchildren. Cinderella is dating the youngest member of the Sparrow family, Ronan.

Where have I seen Lance O'Reilly-Chapman and Safia Oakley-Green before? Sherwood is O'Reilly-Chapman's most notable role to date. Oakley-Green has appeared in The Colour Room.

Terence Maynard plays Sergeant Cleaver

Sergeant Cleaver looking into the camera in Sherwood
BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Sergeant Cleaver? Sergeant Cleaver is working alongside DCS Ian St Clair in the investigation into Gary Jackson's murder.

Where have I seen Terence Maynard before? You'll recognise him from Coronation Street, in which he played Tony Stewart.

Bill Jones plays Ronan Sparrow

Safia Oakley-Green and Bill Jones in Sherwood

Who is Ronan Sparrow? Ronan is the youngest member of the Sparrow family. He is also involved in the family business and is romantically involved with Cinderella.

Where have I seen Bill Jones before? He appeared in Peter Moffat's BBC series The Village.

Don Gilet plays Jacob Harris

Don Gilet in Sherwood
Don Gilet in Sherwood Credit: BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Jacob Harris? Jenny's husband and friend of Ian St Clair. The pair trained to be police officers together.

Where have I seen Don Gilet before? Gilet is perhaps best known for his roles in BBC dramas Babyfather, 55 Degrees north and EastEnders, in which he played preacher-turned-murderer Lucas Johnson. He has also appeared in other TV series including The Doll Maker, Broke and Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators.

Stephen Tompkinson plays Warnock

Sherwood
Warnock (Stephen Tompkinson). BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Warnock? A former miner and friend of Gary’s. Gary confided in him about the undercover police officer he was investigating.

Where have I seen Stephen Tompkinson before? The actor is perhaps best known for his role in 1996 British comedy-drama film Brassed Off as well as Channel 4 TV sitcom Drop the Dead Donkey. More recently, he has appeared in a number of TV series including The Bay and The Other One.

Nadine Marshall plays Jenny Harris

Kevin and Daphne shaking hands while jenny watched on in Sherwood
Kevin Salisbury (Robert Glenister), Daphne Sparrow (Lorraine Ashbourne), Jenny Harris (Nadine Marshall). BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Jenny Harris? A headmistress of a local school. Jenny used to be romantically involved with Kevin when he first arrived on the scene to police the strike.

Where have I seen Nadine Marshall before? Marshall has appeared in a host of popular TV series in recent years such as Trigger Point, Dodger and Time.

Clare Holman plays Helen St Clair

Helen and Ian at a wedding in Sherwood
Helen St.Clair (CLARE HOLMAN) and Ian St.Clair (DAVID MORRISSEY). BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Helen St Clair? Helen St Clair is married to Ian St Clair and worked with Sarah Vincent. We also learn that her mother worked for the National Coal Board and she has her own police file, which is restricted. In episode 4, she informs Kevin that Helen is not her real name.

Where have I seen Clare Holman before? She's best known for her role as Dr Laura Hobson in Inspector Morse and its spin-off Lewis.

Mark Frost plays Martin St Clair

Martin being held by police officers following a brawl in Sherwood
Martin (Mark Frost). BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Martin St Clair? Ian's estranged brother. Their relationship was fractured by the miners' strike.

Where have I seen Mark Frost before? He has appeared in Coronation Street, Hetty Feather, Rocket's Island, Poldark and more.

Christopher Fairbank plays Bill Raggett

Kevin showing Bill a piece of evidence in Sherwood
Bill Raggett (Christopher Fairbank). BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Bill Raggett? Bill Raggett is one of five undercover police officers who were drafted in to spy on Gary Jackson and co back in the '80s.

Where have I seen Christopher Fairbank before? He is best known for Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Mark Addy plays Ron St Clair

Ron St Clair sitting with a pint at the local club
Ron St. Clare (MARK ADDY). BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Ron St Clair? He is Ian and Mark’s father and one of the striking miners.

Where have I seen Mark Addy before? He has appeared in The Full Monty, Game of Thrones, ITV crime drama White House Farm, BBC fantasy drama Atlantis, BBC’s The Syndicate and more.

Lindsay Duncan plays Jennifer Hale

Sherwood
Jennifer Hale (Linday Duncan). BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Who is Jennifer Hale? Jennifer Hale is a retired solicitor who works pro bono for organisations such as the National Union of Mineworkers.

Where have I seen Lindsay Duncan before? She has enjoyed an extensive career in film, TV and theatre. Her most recent projects include A Discovery of Witches, The Leftovers, Close to the Enemy and The Honourable Woman.

Pip Torrens plays Commissioner Charles Dawes

Who is Commissioner Charles Dawes? He is the MET police commissioner who gives Bill Raggett's contact details to Kevin.

Where have I seen Pip Torrens before? His CV includes HBO/Sk Atlantic's The Nevers, AMC's Preacher, Netflix's The Crown and BBC drama Poldark.

Sherwood airs on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Drama hub for the latest news.

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