The Radio Times logo

The Nevers: What are the Touched’s powers and what are their turns?

New HBO/Sky Atlantic series The Nevers gives unusual afflictions to its Victorian characters.

The Nevers
Published: Sunday, 11th April 2021 at 11:00 am

New HBO/Sky Atlantic drama The Nevers introduces a sort of Victorian X-Men story, with a host of unassuming people (usually women, but not exclusively) gaining strange afflictions or abilities that set them apart from normal society.


Called “The Touched”, these people are intriguing to some, feared by others and hunted by many more, with the unique “turns” often being more of a curse than a gift.

But what powers do the characters in The Nevers actually possess? What are their turns and how do they work? While we haven’t learned the truth about every character just yet, here’s an early look at what The Touched can do.

Amalia True (Laura Donnelly)

Laura Donnelly plays Amalia True
Laura Donnelly plays Amalia True Sky

Lead character Mrs True can see glimpses – or “ripplings” – of the future, visions which can’t be changed or avoided but always come to pass. She also can’t bring on the ripplings herself or choose what they show her, with the short flashforwards coming to her at random times, in some cases for events just a minute or so away, sometimes hours.

Amalia is also a skilled hand-to-hand combatant, though this doesn’t seem related to her prophetic abilities.

Penance Adair (Ann Skelly)

Ann Skelly plays Penance Adair
Ann Skelly plays Penance Adair

Religious Penance can “see” electronic currents and connections between objects – in practice this makes her a super-inventor a little like the X-Men character Forge, able to create technology far beyond what you’d normally see in Victorian London.

Maladie (Amy Manson)

Amy Manson as Maladie in The Nevers (HBO/Sky)
Amy Manson as Maladie in The Nevers (HBO/Sky)

Serial killer Maladie’s turn is a little unclear, but it appears that she’s able to absorb pain or physical force, redirecting it as strength. Her eyes also change colour and become black and orange during this process.

Dr Horatio Cousens (Zackary Momoh)

Zackary Momoh as Doctor Horatio Cousens
Zackary Momoh as Doctor Horatio Cousens

A rare man to have been given a turn, Dr Cousins is able to heal wounds using his gift – though it apparently requires a great deal of effort and often leaves him exhausted. It's also not foolproof, with more serious wounds or illnesses still potentially beyond his help.

Bonfire Annie (Rochelle Neil)

Rochelle Neil plays Annie Carbey, aka Bonfire
Rochelle Neil plays Annie Carbey, aka Bonfire Annie

Maladie’s sidekick has the power of pyrokinesis, in other words the ability to control and redirect fire. Annie also appears to be able to create fire from thin air, and has some immunity to its effects given her ability to casually handle it.

Harriet Kaur (Kiran Sonia Sawar)

The Nevers
Kiran Sonia Sawar as Harriet Kaur in The Nevers (HBO/Sky)

Harriet appears to have the opposite ability to Annie, able to freeze objects and turn them to ice at a whim. It’s unclear whether this extends beyond changing the state of objects or whether she can also project ice in the manner of superheroes like Iceman.

Lucy Best (Elizabeth Berrington)

The Nevers
Elizabeth Berrington as Lucy Best in The Nevers

A key member of The Orphanage family, Lucy’s turn is to shatter any object she touches. Unfortunately she’s not able to control the ability at will, so has to wear gloves at all times to avoid destroying everything – and everyone – in her path.

Myrtle Haplisch (Viola Prettejohn)

Viola Prettejohn as Myrtle Haplisc in The Nevers (Sky/HBO)
Viola Prettejohn as Myrtle Haplisch in The Nevers (Sky/HBO)

Recently-discovered “Touched” child Myrtle has a gift for languages – every language, to be precise, including quite a few dead ones. Able to understand any dialect anywhere in the world, her abilities could be unusually useful – but unfortunately at the moment she’s unable to control them, meaning that while she understands English she can only speak in a strange hodgepodge of different languages, making her difficult to understand.

Primrose Chattoway (Anna Devlin)

Prissy young 10-year-old Primrose is 10 feet tall, making her one of the more noticeable Touched in The Orphanage. It’s currently unclear whether this is a permanent affliction, or whether she might be able to alter her size at will once she gains more control over her turn. For now anyway, she’s trapped in this larger form, which also appears to have commensurately increased her physical strength.


The Nevers comes to HBO on Sunday 11th April. It will air on Sky Atlantic and NOW from May 17th. Want something else to watch? Check out our Sci-Fi hub or our full TV Guide.


Sponsored content