It’s a drama set in a recognisable modern day London… about to be burned to a crisp.
Neil Cross’s series Hard Sun is a thriller, a cop show and an apocalyptic drama. Our two main characters, oddball pairing Elaine Renko and Robert Hicks (played by Jim Sturgess and Agyness Deyn), will soon discover that the world is about to end. And the powers-that-be want to keep it a secret.
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The duo don’t start off as particular friends – Renko is investigating Hicks in an ongoing corruption case and he is on to her. But when the sun is about to devastate the world they need to act together.
Before all that imminent desctruction happens, though, it’s probably a good idea to meet the main protagonists…
DI Elaine Renko (played by Agyness Deyn)
A super-smart cop with absolute moral probity, Elaine is never going to take a bribe or bump someone off. But she has a lot on her plate, having been savagely attacked in early scenes in episode one at the hands of her troubled son Daniel. The attack also saw all her belongings destroyed in a fire – a rather neat pointer to what may happen to the world in five years’ time.
Who is Agyness Deyn?
A model and actress, she has adorned many a glossy magazine cover alongside her acting work which includes the role of Aphrodite in 2010 film Clash of the Titans, the lead in 2014 film Electricity and a role in Matt Smith's 2015 zombie thriller Patient Zero (which is still yet to be released).
DCI Charlie Hicks (played by Jim Sturgess)
Charming, happy and balanced, he is – on the face of it – a contented family man with a beautiful wife, a lovely kid and a new baby on the way. He’s also a well-regarded, committed copper with just one problem: he’s profoundly dodgy. Not only does he take bribes, he might be embroiled in the murder of a fellow officer, who happened to be his best friend and whose wife he is more than a little close to. Mmm….
Who is Jim Sturgess?
Jim Sturgess starred opposite Anne Hathaway in the film of David Nicholls’ romantic saga One Day and played the lead role of a British intelligence operative Callum Ferguson in Stephen Poliakoff's so-so BBC drama Close to the Enemy. He's also had roles in Cloud Atlas, The Way Back and Crossing Over.
Grace Morrigan (played by Nikki Amuka-Bird)
Formidably calculating, intelligent and dedicated, this shadowy intelligence operative is determined to retrieve the Hard Sun file and will kill to get her way. When Renko outmanoeuvres her by making part of the Hard Sun file public, it becomes personal. Daniel is the pawn that Grace uses to try and manipulate Renko.
Who is Nikki Amuka-Bird?
A veteran of stage and screen she starred in the TV dramas NW and Small Island – and was recently heard in the Doctor Who Christmas special Twice Upon a Time as the voice of the Glass Woman
Daniel Renko (played by Jojo Macari)
A deeply troubled yoing man from a childhood defined by mental illness, drug abuse and a series of short stays in multiple foster homes. He is also Renko’s son – something which draws him into the far bigger fight she finds herself tackling.
Who is Jojo Macari?
This is the first major TV acting role for the newcomer
Mari Butler (played by Aisling Bea)
Mari is the widow of Charlie's best friend, fellow copper Alex Butler, who has been shot dead before the action starts. She is also having an affair with Charlie – and yet seems to genuinely grieve for her late husband. But she also accepts Charlie's dodgy money. What's she up to? Was she involved in Alex's death?
Who is Aisling Bea?
Best known for her comedy work, the Irish writer and stand-up will be a familiar face to fans of Taskmaster and The Last Leg.
DCS Roland Bell (played by Derek Riddell)
An arch-enemy of Charlie Hicks, this dry cynical plod is determined to convict his adversary for corruption and the murder of Alex Butler – which is why he is running Renko’s investigation into her dodgy partner.
Who is Derek Riddell?
The Scottish actor is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Dr. Jamie Patterson in the Channel 4 television series No Angels. He has also appeared in an array of shows including Silent Witness and Waterloo Road and more recently showed up in Gunpowder, The Missing and Happy Valley.
DS Keith Greener (played by Owain Arthur)
A laddish father of six and dedicated family man, Keith's role as the group’s comedian doesn’t detract from the fact that he is a brilliant copper. One to watch…
Who is Owain Arthur?
The Welsh actor has largely concentrated so far in his career on stage. He rose to fame taking the James Corden role in the hit theatrical show One Man, Two Guvnors. However, he has played Glen Thomas in Casualty and starred as Nobbo in six episodes of Babylon.
DS George Mooney (Adrian Rawlins)
A gentle, dapper, churchgoing member of the National Trust, Mooney is perhaps the most serious member of Hicks’s team.
Who is Adrian Rawlins?
The veteran actor is perhaps best known for playing Harry Potter’s father James in the hit film adaptations of JK Rowling’s fantasy saga.
DS Herbie Sarafian (Joplin "Chook" Sibtain)
Mooney’s best friend is a man as calm and self-assured as he is physically imposing.
Who is Joplin Sibtain?
The English actor is perhaps best known for his role as Mark Grantham in Doctor Who spin-off the Sarah Jane Adventures
DS Mishal Ali (played by Varada Sethu)
Another dedicated copper on the team and a fitness fan who smokes the odd ciggie, Mishal is partnered with Keith and they have a close, sibling-like dynamic.
Who is Varada Sethu?
Varada played the fairy Peaseblossom in the BBC's version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream last year and appeared in Doctor Foster as Aisha.
Thom Blackwood (played by Richard Coyle)
Thom is a murderous psychopath who, partly fuelled by the general sense of apocalyptic doom, partly because of his own religious mania, wants to test God. Will the Almighty stop him killing good people? Or will Renko and Hicks?
Who is Richard Coyle?
Rose to fame in 2000 playing the sexually frustrated Jeff in Steven Moffat's comedy Coupling and has appeared in an array of stage, TV and film roles since then including the NBC drama Crossbones.
Father Dennis Chapman (played by Dermot Crowley)
A goodly, hard-working priest his faith is sorely tested when Thom confesses his crimes to him, putting him on the horns of a terrible dilemma. Can he break the confidentiality of the confessional to save lives? Or must he honour his sacred vows?
Who is Dermot Crowley?
A veteran Irish stage, screen and TV actor he was last seen playing Lazar Kaganovich, one of Josef Stalin's closest aides in Armando Iannucci's hit film The Death of Stalin.
Sunny Ramachandran (played by Tom Reed)
Sunny Ramachandran is a dodgy computer hacker who chances upon the Hard Sun data – with deadly consequences for many.
Who is Tom Reed?
The British actor is perhaps best known for his starring role as Ahmad Khan in the police procedural television series NYC 22 as well as appearances in an array of shows including The Good Wife and the NBC TV series Dracula.
Hard Sun is on BBC1 on Saturday nights starting on Saturday January 6 at 9.35pm