Wanderlust is one of the BBC’s flagship dramas for the autumn, and for good reason. Toni Collette and Steven Mackintosh lead the cast as married couple Joy and Alan who suddenly find themselves at a crossroads in their relationship – so where will they go from here?
Also starring are Zawe Ashton and William Ash, as well as some fresh young talent.
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Here are all the characters you need to meet – and where you’ve seen them before…
Toni Collette plays Joy Richards
Who is Joy? Psychotherapist Joy runs a successful practice from a shed at the bottom of her garden and has three kids – two daughters (aged 25 and 18) and a 16-year-old son. She is also happily married to Alan, although the sex could be better. But after cheating death in a bike accident, she finds herself suddenly re-evaluating her life and relationships: what does she truly want?
Where have I seen Toni Collette before? Getting Toni Collette to come to the UK for a television drama is a bit of a coup for the BBC. The Oscar-nominated Australian actress is best known for her roles in The Sixth Sense and Little Miss Sunshine, and has also starred in United States of Tara, Muriel’s Wedding and recent horror flick Hereditary.
Steven Mackintosh plays Alan Richards
Who is Alan? Joy’s husband Alan is the Head of English at a local secondary school. Like Joy he is frustrated with their sex life, but in a different way. Alan is a pretty straight-laced guy but his developing friendship with fellow teacher Claire opens up new possibilities.
Where have I seen Steven Mackintosh before? The actor’s long list of credits includes hotel manager Richard Garland in The Halcyon, Jim Warner in Kiri, DS Winter in Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, DCI Ian Reed in Luther, and Tannis in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and Underworld: Evolution.
Zawe Ashton plays Claire Pascal
Who is Claire? English teacher Claire works in Alan’s department at school. She’s younger, single, and drives a beaten-up old car that frequently won’t start.
Where have I seen Zawe Ashton before? Zawe Ashton is perhaps best known for playing Vod in the sitcom Fresh Meat. You may also have seen her as Katherine in Not Safe for Work, and she made an appearance in Doctor Who as Journey Blue.
William Ash plays Marvin Walters
Who is Marvin? Joy meets Marvin at her hydrotherapy class as she recovers from her bike accident. A police officer, Marvin is a solid and dependable figure who finds himself strongly sexually attracted to Joy.
Where have I seen William Ash before? The actor starred as Leighton Thomas in ITV’s The Loch, and played Boleslaw “BB” Borowski in The Tunnel. He was Henry Appley in Paranoid, and spent a couple of years starring as Christopher Mead in Waterloo Road.
Joe Hurst plays Tom Richards
Who is Tom? Joy and Alan’s youngest kid Tom, 16, is still at school and is navigating the world of love, lust and hormones.
Where have I seen Joe Hurst before? The young actor has already appeared in Ready Player One (as an Oology expert), Snatch (as Schmeckel Heimel), and The Casual Vacancy (as Andrew “Arf” Price). He recently played Thomas Evans in The Terror alongside Jared Harris and Tobias Menzies.
Emma D’Arcy plays daughter Naomi Richards
Who is Naomi? Joy and Alan’s daughter Naomi, 18, returns home early from her gap year after the girl she loves breaks her heart in Amsterdam.
Where have I seen Emma D’Arcy before? You’re more likely to have seen her on stage than on the screen. She’s been in The Games We Played, Clickbait, Callisto: A Queer Epic, and Against (alongside Ben Whishaw). She’s also the joint artistic director of Forward Arena Theatre Company.
Royce Pierreson plays Jason
Who is Jason? One of Joy’s long-term psychotherapy patients. Handsome and charismatic, he seems to be doing okay – but he’s never truly gotten over the death of his partner Alice.
Where have I seen Royce Pierreson before? You may remember him as Jamie from Line of Duty, or as Dr Jamie Cole in Our Girl (apparently he really suits the name Jamie). He also played abusive boyfriend Reece in Murdered by My Boyfriend.
Jeremy Swift and Anastasia Hille play Neil and Rita
Who are Neil and Rita Bellows? Joy and Alan’s neighbour Neil is a fellow English teacher at Alan’s school, while Rita is his wife. Their marriage has reached a point of total breakdown.
Where have I seen Jeremy Swift before? He actually played Jos Sedley in the 1998 adaptation of Vanity Fair, alongside Natasha Grey, Natasha Little and Philip Glenister. But more recently, he’s taken on the roles of Dennis in The Durrells and Spratt in Downton Abbey.
Where have I seen Anastasia Hille before? Most memorably, she played Celia Baptiste in the TV series The Missing. Other credits include The Tunnel, Not Safe for Work, and Humans.
Isis Hainsworth plays Michelle
Who is Michelle? One of Tom’s best friends at school. She has a crush on him – and he is completely oblivious.
Where have I seen Isis Hainsworth before? Over the last couple of years, the young actress has appeared in a string of TV shows – including Harlots (as Abigail Warren), In Plain Sight (as Vivienne Watt) and Retribution (as Maddy). She will soon play Marie Claire in Les Misérables.
Anya Chalotra plays Jennifer
Who is Jennifer? An enigmatic, beautiful girl at Tom’s school who catches his attention.
Where have I seen Anya Chalotra before? Aside from her stage work, Anya Chalotra will soon appear in Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders.
Paul Kaye plays Lawrence
Who is Lawrence? Joy’s ex-boyfriend, a photographer
Where have I seen Paul Kaye before? You may remember him from Game of Thrones, where he played Thoros of Myr. He’s also been the shock interviewer Dennis Pennis on The Sunday Show, Jim Winshaw in Three Girls, and Prentis in Doctor Who.
Wanderlust continues on Tuesdays at 9pm on BBC1