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Meet the cast of Strike: The Cuckoo's Calling

From Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger to Martin Shaw, meet the main movers and shakers of the BBC’s JK Rowling adaptation

JK Rowling's OTHER book series, the Cormoran Strike mysteries, come to life in a series of multi-part TV adventures.


Read on below to meet the actors and famous faces bringing Rowling's characters to life...

Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike

The titular private detective. An Afghan war veteran who lost a leg on duty and is, due to financial circumstance (a debt to his father) and a breakup, forced to move into his Denmark Street office. The case of a model who fell to her death could, however, reignite his ailing fortunes.

Tom Burke begins his twenty-first century sleuthing after a run of period dramas for the BBC, first as the Musketeers’ Athos and then as War and Peace’s roguish Dolokhov. Other notable appearances have been in The Hour, Great Expectations and Utopia. On the big screen he was in Only God Forgives.

Holliday Grainger as Robin Ellacott

Strike’s new temporary assistant, who has moved from Yorkshire since becoming engaged. Intelligent and competent, she is intrigued about the prospect of detective work.

Grainger is perhaps best known either for her role as Lucrezia Borgia in The Borgias, or as Lady Chatterley in the BBC’s 2015 adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s novel. She also played Bonnie Parker in the History Channel’s Bonnie and Clyde. She was in Mike Newell’s big screen version of Great Expectations, as well as featuring in supporting roles in The Riot Club, Disney’s Cinderella remake, The Finest Hours and My Cousin Rachel.

Elarica Johnson as Lula Landry

The titular Cuckoo (a name given to her by her designer). Her death from a fall is the object of Strike’s initial investigation.

Johnson, who has acted under the surname Gallacher, had a notable role as a flirtatious waitress in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. She had a twelve episode run on EastEnders in 2010 and appeared in Top Boy. Her film credits include My Brother the Devil, Powder Room and How to Talk to Girls at Parties. She has been cast in the highly anticipated sci-fi sequel Blade Runner 2049.

Leo Bill as John Bristow

A lawyer and Lula’s adopted brother, who brings the case of his sister’s death to Strike’s doorstep. He has knowledge of Strike from the latter’s time at school with John’s late brother Charlie, who died when he was younger.

Bill’s breakout role was as one of Christopher Eccleston’s band of depraved soldiers in 28 Days Later. Since then, he’s appeared in both of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland films, Kinky Boots, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Like Burke and Grainger, he has an eye for period drama, appearing (like Grainger) in The Borgias, The White Queen, and most notably in this year’s Taboo as a scheming East India Company man.

Martin Shaw as Tony Landry

John and Lula’s maternal uncle and a lawyer. A man who disapproved of Lula’s lifestyle choices, Strike’s investigations lead him to question Tony.

The man who gave us Inspector George Gently and Judge John Deed now finds himself at the other end of a police case. Aside from these iconic roles, Shaw’s filmography stretches back to the 60s, including The Chief, Always and Everyone, and a portrayal of imperialist businessman Cecil Rhodes in a BBC adaptation of his life.

Natasha O’Keeffe as Charlotte Campbell

Strike’s ex-fiancée of several years, extremely posh, beautiful and wealthy.

O’Keeffe has a regular role as Lizzie Stark on interwar gang saga Peaky Blinders. Before that, she broke out with a regular role in the fourth and fifth series of Misfits. She also played the titular character in the Sherlock special The Abominable Bride.

Bronson Webb as Evan Duffield

The victim’s on-off boyfriend, a popstar who struggles with drugs. An immediate suspect for the media to turn to at the time of Lula’s death, his lifestyle makes him a sizeable target for press accusations.

Webb has appeared in small roles in several large Hollywood productions, including Kingdom of Heaven, Atonement, The Dark Knight, Robin Hood and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. On TV, he is most famous for appearing in the very first scene of Game of Thrones, in which he managed to escape from White Walkers, only to wind up getting his head chopped off later in the episode.

Kerr Logan as Matthew Cunliffe

Robin’s smug fiancé, blessed with an uncanny proclivity to make everything about him.

Logan’s first big role was as Matthos Seaworth in Game of Thrones’ second season. He went on to appear in Irish shows 6Degrees and London Irish. Last year he was in the BBC’s My Mother and Other Strangers. This year may be his breakout year, with this role in Strike and another in Netflix’s Margaret Atwood adaptation Alias Grace.

Killian Scott as DI Eric Wardle

A policeman in the Met who helps Strike in his investigation.

Another Irish import like Logan, Scott is most famous for his roles as Tommy in Love/Hate and Augustus Dove in Ripper Street. Other appearances have been in the Jack Taylor TV films starring Iain Glen, as well as ’71, Good Vibrations and Calvary.

Brian Bovell as Derrick Wilson

A doorman at Lula's building who proves invaluable to Strike's enquiries

Bovell has had repeat appearances on many of Britain’s long-running shows, turning up in quite a few of them (Casualty, The Bill and Holby City) as different characters over the years. He has also featured in Judge John Deed and Death in Paradise, and appeared alongside Webb in Pan. He played Leo Valentine in Hollyoaks from 2006-10 and turned up in Unforgotten’s first season.

David Avery as Nico Kolovas-Jones

Lula’s driver, who has an inside track on the rich and famous.

Probably most recognisable as the evil Freddie Hamid in Tom Hiddleston drama The Night Manager, Avery has also cropped up in TV projects including Doctor Who, 24, Borderline and the upcoming Troy: Fall of a City. In the word of film he’s appeared in Starred Up, The Inbetweeners Movie and Kill Your Friends among other roles.

Ben Crompton as Shanker

A friend and former flatmate of Strike’s, who works in the illegal drugs trade and can help Strike find information about wanted people…for a price.

Ben Crompton is currently best known for his role as incumbent Commander of the Night’s Watch ‘Dolorous’ Edd Tollett in Game of Thrones. He had roles in Man Stroke Woman, Pramface and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. He also went inside a Dalek on a 2014 episode of Doctor Who, and was in ITV’s drama The Great Fire.

Kadiff Kirwan as Guy Some

Lula’s designer and the one who gave her the nickname ‘Cuckoo’. He openly loathes Evan and hated him dating Lula.

Kirwan got his break starring as Jason in BBC Three’s short-lived young offenders comedy Crims, and now appears as Aaron in E4 smash Chewing Gum. He also had a role in a 2016 episode of Black Mirror.

Tara Fitzgerald as Tansy Bestigui

The delicate wife of Freddie Bestigui and a key witness to Lula’s death, claiming to have overheard some of the events preceding it.

Tara Fitzgerald’s most high-profile recent role was as Selyse Baratheon in Game of Thrones. She is also well-known for playing Dr Eve Lockhart in Waking the Dead from 2007-11. Other appearances have been in 2006’s Jane Eyre and The Virgin Queen. On the silver screen she can be found in Legend opposite Tom Hardy, Child 44 and Ridley Scott’s Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Siân Phillips as Lady Bristow

Lula and John’s adopted mother. She is terminally ill and suffered a strained relationship with her daughter.

Though she is known primarily as a stage actress (having turned down lucrative Hollywood contracts when she was young to tread the boards in Britain) Phillips still boasts a wide-ranging filmography going back almost sixty years. One of her iconic roles was as the conniving empress Livia in I, Claudius.

Amber Anderson as Ciara Porter

A supermodel and friend of Lula’s whom Strike approaches as part of his investigation.

Anderson, primarily a model, has had small roles in films and shows such as Your Highness, Black Mirror and the Riot Club. She has an upcoming role opposite Ed Skrein and Emily Ratajkowski in In Darkness. She also starred in a short film directed by Steve McQueen of Shame and Twelve Years a Slave fame.

Sarah Sweeney as Lucy Strike

Strike’s younger sister, Lucy worries about her big brother’s career and odd lifestyle choices.


Sarah Sweeney has appeared in The Bastard Executioner, Cider with Rosie and Holby City.


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