Jack O’Connell joins Colin Farrell in new BBC drama The North Water

The Skins star will play a disgraced ex-army surgeon on an Arctic voyage

Jack O Connell The Dark Water

Bafta winner Jack O’Connell will star in new BBC thriller The North Water alongside Colin Farrell.


Set in the 1850s, the four-part series will see the actors play members of a whaling expedition to the Arctic.

O’Connell takes the role of disgraced ex-army surgeon Patrick Sumner, who joins the voyage as the ship’s doctor. It’s here he comes across Farrell’s Henry Drax, a brutish harpooner whose “amorality has been shaped to fit the harshness of his world”.

The expedition is far from plain-sailing. The BBC synopsis says, “Sumner finds himself on an ill-fated journey with a murderous psychopath. In search of redemption, his story becomes a harsh struggle for survival in the Arctic wasteland.”

The North Water, expected to start filming in autumn 2019, is adapted by Andrew Haigh from the Man-Booker-nominated novel of the same name by Ian McGuire. Haigh (The OA, Looking, Weekend) will also direct the series.


Speaking of O’Connell’s casting, Haigh said, “Jack is a fiercely instinctual actor who brings nuance and complexity to every character he plays. I can’t wait to see him bring Patrick Sumner to life.”