ITV’s new cop drama Wild Bill stars Hollywood actor Rob Lowe as formerly-high-flying US police chief Bill Hixon – who now finds himself in Boston, Lincolnshire.
Landing in the UK with his teenage daughter Kelsey in tow, Chief Constable Bill Hixon has come prepared with armfuls of algorithms and statistics to tackle the county’s crime figures. But this job turns out to be much more hands-on than he ever anticipated…
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With actors from Line of Duty, Shameless, Bodyguard and Call the Midwife, Wild Bill is packed full of familiar faces.
Here are the characters you need to meet – and the stars who play them:
Rob Lowe plays Bill Hixon
Who is Bill Hixon? High-flying American cop Bill Hixon has been brought in from Miami to take over as Chief Constable of the East Lincolnshire Police Force, in the decidedly less glamorous English town of Boston. Chief Constable Hixon’s new job is to tackle the county’s terrible crime figures and make spending cuts – and from the outset, he is not here to make friends.
Despite being supremely well-educated and well-qualified, with a first-class degree in Criminology, a Masters in Psychopathology, and a doctorate in Statistical Mapping, brash American Bill Hixon has ended up in deepest Lincolnshire in an attempt to flee painful events on the other side of the Atlantic.
“The character is so American so that can bump up against a proper British sensibility,” explains Lowe. “For an American he is abrasive – even for an American – and direct and ambitious and hard-charging and he doesn’t suffer fools at all.”
What else has Rob Lowe been in? American actor and Hollywood star Rob Lowe has been on our screens since the age of 15 after rising to fame as part of Hollywood’s Brat Pack and has almost 100 acting credits to his name. His most memorable roles have included Chris Traeger in US sitcom Parks and Recreation, Dr Ethan Willis in Code Black, and Sam Seaborn in The West Wing – a role which earned him nominations for two Golden Globes and an Emmy. As well as playing the lead, he is also an executive producer of Wild Bill.
Rachael Stirling plays Mary Harborough
Who is Mary Harborough? Local barrister and judge Mary Harborough QC also happens to be the eldest daughter of Lincolnshire aristocracy.
“Beautiful, rebellious, and a fellow misfit, Bill will fall hard for Mary, and it will terrify him,” ITV says. “She’s posh and flippant on the surface, but darker than you’d expect underneath. She’s captivating and has the wit to reduce men with a line. Someone who would make an impact anywhere in the world, it’s something of a mystery that she seems to have contented herself with Boston.”
What else has Rachael Stirling been in? Rachael Stirling has starred as Nancy Astley in Tipping the Velvet, Millie Harcourt in The Bletchley Circle, Becky in Detectorists, and Ada in 2013 Doctor Who episode The Crimson Hour. On the big screen, her credits include Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Snow White and the Huntsman, and The Young Victoria. Aside from this, she is an acclaimed stage actress with two Olivier Award nominations to her name.
Patrick Bergin plays Frank McGill
Who is Frank McGill? The fifth and final episode features Frank McGill, who (once upon a time) had a reputation for killing his enemies with a nail gun to the back of the head.
What else has Patrick Bergin been in? The Irish actor played the villainous Aidan Maguire in EastEnders, and appeared as Jim Tierney in Red Rock.
Michael James plays Young Terry Maguire
Who is Young Terry? An angry and violent young man.
What else has Michael James been in? Having played Abu Jasser in Our Girl, Michael James recently appeared as Quentin in Knightfall.
Aloreia Spencer plays Kelsey Hixon
Who is Kelsey Hixon? Bill’s 14-year-old daughter. She has a sharp and sarcastic sense of humour which she uses as a defence mechanism, and is going through those awkward teenage years. After the sudden death of her mother in an accident, Kelsey is still “emotionally raw,” and “now alone with her dad, she’s beginning to suspect he isn’t capable of being the understanding and giving parent she needs.”
“They have a very fraught relationship but a very close relationship,” says Lowe. “It’s just the two of them in this brave new world over here and that’s sort of the humanising element of [my] character.”
What else has Aloreia Spencer been in? This is the young actress’s first screen role.
Eshan Gopal plays Alex
Who is Alex? Kelsey’s friend from her new school.
What else has Eshan Gopal been in? The young actor appeared as Michael Jackson in the West End shows Thriller Live and Motown: The Musical, as well as performing Rockin’ Robin for BBC Christmas Special Even Better Than the Real Thing.
Bronwyn James plays DC Muriel Yeardsley
Who is DC Muriel Yeardsley? Bright, eager and ambitious detective Muriel comes from a local farming family. She is an idealist who believes that police work can change the world for the better, and she is immediately keen to learn from Chief Constable Bill Hixon.
“Muriel becomes almost a de facto older daughter to him,” reveals Lowe.
What else has Bronwyn James been in? The actress put in a memorable appearance in the 2018 Call the Midwife Christmas special, playing pregnant mum Mavis Holler. She also starred in festive Agatha Christie drama The ABC Murders, and played Fanny Lambert in Harlots.
Anjli Mohindra plays ACC Lydia Price
Who is ACC Lydia Price? As Assistant Chief Constable at East Lincolnshire Police, “Lydia is pressed, polished, professional, but under-appreciated.” After her own career was thwarted again and again, Bill’s appointment as her boss came as a big blow, and “she hates pretty much everything Bill stands for.”
What else has Anjli Mohindra been in? Anjli Mohindra was, of course, would-be train bomber Nadia in Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard. Since then she has starred in the ITV drama Dark Heart as DC Josie Chancellor, and in Midsomer Murders episode The Ghost of Causton Abbey as beer brewer Faiza Jindal. Previous credits include Paranoid, Bancroft, Cucumber, and The Missing.
Tony Pitts plays Keith Metcalfe
Who is Keith Metcalfe? The Crime Commissioner for East Lincolnshire who hired Bill Hixon. According to ITV, “Keith Metcalfe is the first generation of a nouveau riche local industrial family. He’s a man on the make and a shameless social climber, but he lacks the brains and drive of his father. He’s ambitious and arrogant, pompous and slippery.”
What else has Tony Pitts been in? It’s hard not to be suspicious of Tony Pitts’ latest character, after the actor starred as DCS Lester Hargreaves in Line of Duty. Other recent roles include Lennox in MotherFatherSon, Edgar Massinger in Jamestown, and Inspector Moss in Peaky Blinders. He previously starred as Chloe’s dad in My Mad Fat Diary, and put in an appearance in Star Wars movie Rogue One as Captain Pterro.
Steffan Rhodri plays DS Alex Blair
Who is DS Alex Blair? A detective sergeant at East Lincs.
What else has Steffan Rhodri been in? The Welsh actor starred as Dave Coaches in Gavin & Stacey, and played Ministry maintenance man Reg Cattermole in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Recent roles include Judge Gwyn Daniels in Keeping Faith, and DC Neil Jones in Manhunt.
Anthony Flanagan plays PC Sean Cobley
Who is PC Sean Cobley? Described as “a wiry, punchy, grizzled street cop,” PC Sean Cobley is a local lad who became a policeman and “doesn’t suffer fools”. He is unimpressed by the arrival of Bill Hixon.
What else has Anthony Flanagan been in? Best-known for his role as policeman Tony in Channel 4 drama Shameless, Anthony Flanagan has since starred as Bastien in the TV series Versailles, unpleasant tenant Sam Sowden in Sally Wainwright’s Gentleman Jack, and John Morfin in The Terror.
Divian Ladwa plays PC Drakes
Who is PC Drakes? PC Cobley’s sidekick, and one of the junior police officers within the team. He is a bit of a joker but is also a serious professional, though he is “very much a follower rather than a leader”.
What else has Divian Ladwa been in? The actor appeared in Oscar-nominated movie Lion in the role of Mantosh Brierley, as well as comedy series Detectorists and Marvel movie Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Angela Griffin plays Lisa Cranston
Who is Lisa Cranston? Described as a “bloodhound”, Lisa is a reporter for local newspaper The Boston Stump. She is “smart, worldly, and a force of nature” and “can sniff out the headlines before they happen.”
What else has Angela Griffin been in? The actress and TV presenter cut her teeth in the 90s as Fiona Middleton in Coronation Street. She has also starred in Cutting It, Holby City, Down to Earth, Waterloo Road (as teacher Kim Campbell), Mount Pleasant, Turn Up Charlie, and Lewis – and she often appears as a panelist or presenter on daytime TV shows.
Katarina Čas plays Lubica
Who is Lubica Varga? The young Slovenian girlfriend of farm owner Darren Bailey (John Paul Hurley), who has gone missing. Before their relationship, she worked as a vegetable picker in the fields with the other Eastern European immigrant workers – including Tomas Kovac (Adrian Fekete).
What else has Katarina Čas been in? In English, Katarina Čas played Dominica in the TV series Love, Lies and Records, Chef Ivana in Netflix movie A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, and Chantalle in The Wolf of Wall Street. Her other recent credits include Berlin Station and Rubirosa (as Doris Duke).
Nichola Burley plays Charlene Bailey
Who is Charlene Bailey? The daughter of Darren Bailey, who has gone missing. She has had a troubled life with drugs and a teenage pregnancy, and has an extremely low opinion of herself. Charlene lives on the farm with her self-important and lazy brothers, DJ (Jack Gordon) and Matthew (Joe Cook).
What else has Nichola Burley been in? The actress has appeared in Death Comes to Pemberley (as Louisa Bidwell), Drop Dead Gorgeous (as Cathy McAleer), and Wuthering Heights (as Isabella Linton).
Lisa Palfrey plays Audrey Merrick
Who is Audrey Merrick? A tough, angry Lincolnshire farmer. She has been repeatedly burgled and thinks the police are useless at tackling crime.
What else has Lisa Palfrey been in? The actress recently starred as Cynthia in the Netflix series Sex Education. She was McAndrew in series three of Line of Duty, with other credits including Pride, Guest House Paradiso, and Family Tree.
Con O’Neill plays Ray Gilchrist
Who is Ray Gilchrist? A farmer whose land borders the Merrick farm. He lives with his father, and now devotes himself to religion and the church.
What else has Con O’Neill been in? Con O’Neill recently starred in Chernobyl, playing the role of Viktor Bryukhanov. He can also be seen in Cleaning Up (as Graham), Happy Valley (as Neil Ackroyd), Cucumber (as Cliff Costello) and The Tunnel (as Neil Grey).
David Hargreaves plays Albert
Who is Albert? Ray’s father. He fought in the Falklands War.
What else has David Hargreaves been in? The actor has more than 110 roles to his name. Recent appearances have included Chatty Joe in Fleabag series two, Martin Garrick in Traitors, and Arthur Andrews in This Country.
Craig Parkinson plays ‘Piano Man’
Who is Piano Man? According to executive producer Eleanor Moran, “Episode two is about a lost soul known only as Piano Man, played by Craig Parkinson, who is trying to figure out who he actually is, which is what Bill is also doing. Piano Man was inspired by a real story. It’s an amalgamation of stories about people who have lost their memory and suddenly can speak Chinese or are able to play the violin.”
What else has Craig Parkinson been in? The actor is perhaps best known for playing DI Matthew “Dot” Cottan in Line of Duty. Recent credits include Black Mirror interactive episode Bandersnatch, Wild Rose, Year of the Rabbit, and Watership Down (as the voice of Sergeant Sainfoin). Craig Parkinson has also starred in Misfits (as Sean), In with the Flynns (as Tommy Flynn), and Whitechapel (as Johnny Kray). He hosts a podcast called Two Shot.
Barry Aird plays Henry
Who is Henry? A local paramedic. He calls the police to check on an elderly man who isn’t answering his door.
What else has Barry Aird been in? Barry Aird made a brief but memorable appearance in series five of Line of Duty as gang leader Slater. He played Ketil Blacksvedt in Fortitude, Tairo in The City and The City, and Jonty Dunmore in Coronation Street.
Emma D’Arcy plays Alma
Who is Alma? A local librarian. She had a difficult childhood and now appears to have a drinking problem.
What else has Emma D’Arcy been in? The actress starred alongside Toni Collette in the TV series Wanderlust.
Aleksander Jovanovic plays Oleg Kraznov
Who is Oleg Kraznov? According to ITV, “Oleg Krasnov is a Russian who has become the pre-eminent in the local community. Neither a thug nor a refined villain, he’s intelligent and resourceful enough that he could start a criminal enterprise anywhere in the world. He has a talent for finding people’s weak spots… Oleg is an ambitious man and has made it his mission to destroy Bill.”
What else has Aleksander Jovanovic been in? Born in Germany, Aleksander Jovanovic has appeared in a long list of German TV shows and movies. British viewers may recognise him as Urquhart from Robert Pattinson movie The Lost City of Z, or as Dr Sim from 2016 Doctor Who episode The Return of Doctor Mysterio, or as Adam from Cold Feet.
Vicki Pepperdine plays pathologist Broadbent
Who is Broadbent? The pathologist. She actively working with the dead and is “one-of-a-kind”, with an usual sense of humour.
What else has Vicki Pepperdine been in? Recent credits include The Woman in White, The Windsors, High & Dry, Sally4Ever, and Cuckoo. She played Dr Pippa Moore in Getting On.
Susan Lynch plays Angie
Who is Angie? It has been years since Angie’s daughter Mel (played by Hollie Dennard Woolhead) went missing, leaving behind her Polish boyfriend Marek Rudnicka (Julian Kostov). Now there has been a new development in the case.
What else has Susan Lynch been in? Susan Lynch recently played Anna in the TV series Killing Eve, and Angstrom in Doctor Who episode The Ghost Monument. Other roles include Susannah in Apple Tree Yard, Stace in Save Me, and Alison Garrs in Happy Valley. The Northern Irish actress is married to Line of Duty star Craig Parkinson, who will also appear in Wild Bill.
Wild Bill began on Wednesday 12th June and continues on Wednesdays at 9pm on ITV