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The Midwich Cuckoos creators tease "epiphanical and beautiful" horror series

Keeley Hawes stars in this creepy adaptation of the John Wyndham novel – but she says it’s more than her return to sci-fi.

Keeley Hawes in The Midwich Cuckoos
Sky
Published: Tuesday, 24th May 2022 at 10:00 am
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New Sky drama The Midwich Cuckoos is a creepy, unsettling take on parenthood adapted from a John Wyndham classic – but if you’re expecting a full horror or sci-fi story, you should think again,

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“I did do an episode of Doctor Who, so I do feel like I’ve done a little bit [of sci-fi],” series lead Keeley Hawes told RadioTimes.com and other press.

“But this just felt so different and unusual, tonally, and so grounded in reality. It feels like something that could be possible, rather than sci-fi that is, you know, about time-travel.”

While the new version does follow the beats of the original story – every woman in a small English village falls mysteriously pregnant, giving birth to unusual children who may pose a threat to their parents – there are also some crucial differences to the story added by The Night Manager screenwriter David Farr.

And more generally, the cast and creatives behind the show hinted that they expected The Midwich Cuckoos to wrongfoot their audience, who might not expect the peculiar mix of tones and styles applied to what could be a straight horror/thriller story.

“I don’t think they’ll be expecting it to feel so epiphanical and beautiful,” director Alice Troughton exclusively told RadioTimes.com.

“Because it is really kind of emotional. It develops, I think, through stages. It’s mysterious, it’s thrilling, it’s dark, it’s disturbing. And I think [people will] be surprised by the boldness and the beauty of it.”

“It’s not a show that kind of goes, ‘Rahh!!!’ at the beginning,” added screenwriter/series creator Farr.

“We’ve taken our time, and I’m really proud of that. And I think it’ll creep up on people, suddenly, the emotional and almost existential kind of dread of it.”

The children in Sky's The Midwich Cuckoos
The children in Sky's The Midwich Cuckoos Sky

It certainly seemed to sneak up on some other members of the cast.

“It’s a psychological thriller,” Lara Rossi, who plays Jodie in the series, told RadioTimes.com.

“I hadn’t really done something like that before. Suspenseful tension. I really, really liked the notion of something so innocent – you know, a child – the fact that they could be dangerous. There’s something about that that I find really chilling.”

“When I saw that it was David Farr that had written it, when I got the email through, I was like, ‘Oh! This is going to be really good,’” agreed co-star Aisling Loftus. “And it was. The writing’s great.”

And could this strange, horrifying tale of mutant children infiltrating the bodies of various women even be... relatable? The cast seem to think so.

“It felt really relatable to me, the moment I read the script, because we were just sort of coming out of a lockdown,” Synnøve Karlsen, who plays Hawes’ on-=screen daughter, told us.

Keeley Hawes in The Midwich Cuckoos
SKY UK

“Yeah, I remember, I was sitting at home reading it, and I just really related to where Cassie was at, at that point – sort of quite stagnant, and quite isolated. As I think lots of us were – or most of us were – during the pandemic.”

“We never could have imagined that this show would be described as relatable,” Hawes laughed.

“But because of the time that we’ve all been through, it certainly does have parallels with COVID, and the pandemic, and the lockdowns, and the government taking over, and, you know, people being isolated.”

The Midwich Cuckoos will begin airing on Sky Max and NOW from Thursday 2nd June. Find out how to sign up for Sky TV here. For more, check out our dedicated Sci-Fi page or our full TV Guide.

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