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When is The First on TV? Who's in the cast? What's it about?

Everything you need to know about the new space exploration drama starring Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone

Published: Wednesday, 21st November 2018 at 9:00 am

Sean Penn is embarking on the first human mission to Mars in Channel 4’s new sci-fi offering, The First.


The space exploration drama, from the creator of House of Cards, marks Penn’s first major role in a TV series, after playing the leading man in Hollywood movies for decades and featuring as a guest star on numerous shows.

Here’s everything you need to know about The First…

When is The First on TV?

The First premiered on Thursday 1st November at 9pm on Channel 4 and continues on Thursday evenings.

It has already aired in the US, going live on Hulu on 14th September.

What is The First about?

Set in the near-future, the show will follow the first human mission to Mars – in particular the process of colonising another planet and the impact the astronauts' trip has on the families they have left behind on earth.

Who is in the cast of The First?

Sean Penn leads the cast as Tom Hagerty, whose character remains mysterious at this stage apart from the fact that images have been released of him clad in a US Navy captain’s uniform.

Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone in The First (Channel 4, EH)

Designated Survivor actress Natascha McElhone, meanwhile, stars as “visionary aerospace magnate” Laz Ingram.

Natascha McElhone in The First (Channel 4, EH)

LisaGay Hamilton (House of Cards), Brian Lee Franklin (Godless), James Ransone (Generation Kill), Melissa George (Home and Away) and Anna Jacoby-Heron also star.

Who wrote The First?

The series is penned by Beau Willimon, who also created House of Cards on Netflix and the forthcoming movie Mary Queen of Scots.


Is there a trailer for The First?

Yes, and it's bound to give you goosebumps. Here you go…

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