There are only two episodes left of BBC drama The Woman in the Wall, and we're getting ever closer to uncovering the mystery at the heart of the story.


The gothic thriller series is inspired by the harrowing real-life history of Ireland's Magdalene Laundries, which saw thousands of "fallen women" – pregnant teenagers and others who were unmarried, labelled promiscuous or had been abused – forced to live and work in abhorrent conditions.

Joe Murtagh explained his reason for writing the series, saying: "I had this idea about 10 years ago. I was at film school and I saw The Magdalene Sisters, and I knew nothing about the laundries [at that time].

"That was my introduction... and I was just absolutely horrified. I had this really uneasy feeling throughout watching it, has this actually happened to people?

"And then reading into it, like, Jesus Christ, yes it has, all the way up to 1996 when the last laundry closed, and 1998 when the last mother and baby home closed.

"It was an eye-opening experience realising how this horrific thing had happened. But the thing that was more horrifying was realising that I hadn't known about this, and every single person that I mentioned this to had never heard of this, and that's still true today outside of Ireland."

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The series features two acclaimed actors at its centre, with Ruth Wilson and Daryl McCormack playing Lorna Brady and Detective Colman Akande. Meanwhile, the rest of the cast is chock full of Irish acting talent.

Read on for everything you need to know about the characters in The Woman in the Wall and the actors who play them.

The Woman in the Wall cast

  • Ruth Wilson as Lorna Brady
  • Abby Fitz as young Lorna
  • Daryl McCormack as Detective Colman Akande
  • Philippa Dunne as Niamh
  • Simon Delaney as Sgt Aidan Massey
  • Hilda Fay as Amy Kane
  • Helen Roche as Peggy
  • Anne Kent as Deidre
  • Cillian Lenaghan as Conor Skelly
  • Aisling O'Neill as Mrs Moran
  • Mark Huberman as Michael
  • Michael O'Kelly as young Father Percy
  • Ardal O'Hanlon as Dara
  • Frances Tomelty as Sister Eileen
  • Aoibhinn McGinnity as Young Sister Eileen
  • Alexandra Moloney plays Olivia
  • Fiona Bell as Aoife
  • Caoimhe Farren as Clemence
  • Ciara Stell as young Clemence
  • Dermot Crowley as James Coyle
  • Ciaran McMahon as Damian
  • Brian Doherty as Thomas
  • Esther Ayo James as Sister Burke
  • Brendan McCormack as David
  • Brendan Conroy as Bishop Brendan Rice
  • Eimear Morrissey as Superintendent Byrne
  • Rory Corcoran as Father Keith
  • Chizzy Akudolu as Lola

Ruth Wilson plays Lorna Brady

Lorna standing in the street next to a statue of the virgin Mary
Ruth Wilson as Lorna Brady. Motive Pictures/Chris Barr

Who is Lorna Brady? A seamstress who was sent to a laundry after falling pregnant when she was a young woman. Her baby was taken from her during her time there, which has had a profound impact on Lorna.

Where have I seen Ruth Wilson before? Wilson's extensive credits include Luther with Idris Elba, The Affair with Dominic West, ITV drama Mrs Wilson, BBC-HBO fantasy series His Dark Materials, and feature films Dark River and See How They Run.

Abby Fitz plays young Lorna

young Lorna sat in front of a washing machine, wearing an apron, looking glum,
Abby Fitz as young Lorna. Motive Pictures/Chris Barr

Where have I seen Abby Fitz before? You might have watched her in Irish crime drama Redemption.

Daryl McCormack plays Colman Akande

Colman stood on a long driveway, wearing a shirt and tie, with a troubled expression on his face
Daryl McCormack as Colman Akande. Motive Pictures/Chris Barr

Who is Colman Akande? A detective who is looking into the murder of a priest. Like Lorna, old wounds are opened for Colman as the investigation progresses.

Where have I seen Daryl McCormack before? You might have watched him in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande with Emma Thompson, Apple+ comedy-drama Bad Sisters, Steven Knight's Peaky Blinders and Irish soap opera Fair City.

Philippa Dunne plays Niamh

Philippa Dunne
Philippa Dunne as Niamh. Sister/Anika Molnar

Who is Niamh? She's campaigning for justice on behalf of the women impacted by the laundries.

Where have I seen Philippa Dunne before? Most people will know her from BBC comedy Motherland. Her credits also include Lisa McGee's Derry Girls and BBC medical drama This Is Going to Hurt.

Simon Delaney plays Aidan Massey

Sgt Aidan Massey pointing at Colman while laughing
Simon Delaney as Aiden Massey. Motive Pictures/Chris Barr

Who is Aiden Massey? A Sergeant at the local police force who is conscious about rocking the boat in his "very boring town".

Where have I seen Simon Delaney before? You might recognise him from The Conjuring 2, comedy Moone Boy, Northern Ireland-set series Pulling Moves and Irish comedy-drama Bachelors Walk. He also voices Roy's biological dad in the Irish cartoon of the same name.

Hilda Fay plays Amy Kane

Close-up of Amy Kane looking very downbeat
Hilda Fay as Amy Kane. Motive Pictures/Chris Barr

Who is Amy Kane? One of the women who was sent to the laundry. She is questioned by the police following the murder of a priest.

Where have I seen Hilda Fay before? Irish viewers might know her from Fair City.

Helen Roche plays Peggy and Anne Kent plays Deidre

Deidre and Peggy sat next to one another. Deidre with her hand on top of Peggy's. They both look sad
Anne Kent as Deidre and Helen Roche as Peggy. Motive Pictures/Chris Barr

Who are Peggy and Deidre? Two other women who were sent to the local laundry.

Where have I seen Helen Roche and Anne Kent before? Roche has had minor roles in The Northman, and Irish series Deception and Fair City. Kent's most notable role was in Fair City.

Cillian Lenaghan plays Conor Skelly

Conor Skelly stood in his police uniform
Cillian Lenaghan as Conor Skelly. Motive Pictures/Chris Barr

Who is Conor Skelly? A constable at the local police force.

Where have I seen Cillian Lenaghan before? His CV includes crime series The Spectacular.

Aisling O'Neill plays Mrs Moran

Mrs Moran stood up in the middle of the haberdashery
Aisling O'Neill as Mrs Moran. Motive Pictures/Chris Barr

Who is Mrs Moran? Lorna's boss at the dressmakers.

Where have I seen Aisling O'Neill before? She's best known for her role in Fair City.

Mark Huberman plays Michael

Close-up of Michael's face, illuminated green
Mark Huberman as Michael. Motive Pictures,Chris Barr

Who is Michael? He went to the same school as Lorna. After an initial altercation between the pair at the pub, they reminisce about the old days.

Where have I seen Mark Huberman before? You might know him from Vikings: Valhalla, Redemption, Scúp and The Clinic.

Michael O'Kelly plays young Father Percy

young Father Percy leading a sad young Lorna out of her front door as her father watches on
Michael O'Kelly as young Father Percy. Motive Pictures/Chris Barr

Who is young Father Percy? The priest who oversaw Lorna's incarceration at the laundry. An investigation has been opened into his murder.

Where have I seen Michael O'Kelly before? He recently appeared in an episode of crime drama Kin, and he had a minor role in Red Rock, another crime series.

Ardal O'Hanlon plays Dara

Sara sat at a table in the pub
Ardal O'Hanlon as Dara. Motive Pictures/Chris Barr

Who is Dara? He was caught on CCTV with his wife Aoife, who is now dead, driving the dead priest's car.

Where have I seen Ardal O'Hanlon before? Most people will have watched him in Father Ted and Death in Paradise.

Frances Tomelty plays Sister Eileen

Sister Eileen sat in a chair while talking to the detectives
Frances Tomelty as Sister Eileen. Motive Pictures/Chris Barr

Who is Sister Eileen? She was Mother Superior at the Kilkinure laundry, where she ruled with an iron fist.

Where have I seen Frances Tomelty before? Viewers might know her from crime drama Strangers and BBC One's The Amazing Mrs Pritchard.

Aoibhinn McGinnity plays Young Sister Eileen

young Sister Eileen shining a torch in a dim room
Aoibhinn McGinnity as Young Sister Eileen. Motive Pictures/Chris Barr

Where have I seen Aoibhinn McGinnity before? Her credits include Irish thriller Smother, Netflix's Vikings: Valhalla and Irish drama Love/Hate.

Alexandra Moloney plays Olivia

close-up of Alexandra Moloney
Alexandra Moloney plays Olivia in The Woman in the Wall Red Planet Pictures/Denis Guyenon

Who is Olivia? She claims she's Aoife's daughter and seeks out Lorna to find out what's happened to her missing mother.

Where have I seen Alexandra Moloney before? She appeared in a recent episode of Death in Paradise.

Chizzy Akudolu plays Lola

Detective Colman Akande and Lola sitting at a table
Chizzy Akudolu with McCormack in The Woman in the Wall. Motive Pictures

Who is Lola? Lola is Colman's adoptive mother.

Where have I seen Chizzy Akudolu before? Akudolu has appeared in series such as Man Vs Bee, Best Interests and Silent Witness, while she is best known for her role as Mo in Holby City.

Additional cast members include:

  • Fiona Bell (Shetland) as Aoife - the dead woman in Lorna's wall. She was a nun at the laundry
  • Caoimhe Farren (Doctors) as Clemence - Lorna's best friend at the laundry
  • Ciara Stell as young Clemence
  • Dermot Crowley (Luther) as James Coyle - the co-founder of the group which is trying to get the state to acknowledge what happened to Lorna and co
  • Ciaran McMahon (Vikings: Valhalla) as Damian - he works at the local DIY store
  • Brian Doherty (Raw) as Thomas - a horse farmer who accuses Amy Kane of starting the fire that destroyed the priest's car
  • Esther Ayo James (Wallpaper) as Sister Burke
  • Brendan McCormack (Vikings) as David - Clemence's brother
  • Brendan Conroy (The Bounty) as Bishop Brendan Rice
  • Eimear Morrissey as Superintendent Byrne
  • Rory Corcoran as Father Keith

The Woman in the Wall premiered on BBC One and iPlayer on Sunday 27th August at 9pm. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.

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