Channel 5 and Clapperboard, Chalkboard’s scripted sister company, have announced the key cast for upcoming drama Desperate Measures (4 x 60).

The series will be produced in association with international distributor Eccho Rights. Mike Benson and Julie Ryan will serve as executive producers for Clapperboard, whilst Adam Barth and Nicola Söderlund are on board as executive producers for Eccho Rights. Helen Ostler (The Last Kingdom) is producer, whilst Anthony Philipson (Our Girl) will be the director of the series. The series was ordered by Sebastian Cardwell, Deputy Chief Content Officer UK, at Paramount.

The drama follows diligent bank clerk Rowan, who has raised her teenage son Finn on a lawless estate whilst paying off her absent father’s debts. Rowan’s life spirals when Finn is coerced into a botched drug deal by a local gang. With Finn’s life on the line and a violent gang leader encroaching on her life, Rowan is faced with recuperating the money that Finn lost. Desperate to save her son and having exhausted all options, Rowan commits to a dangerous heist at the bank she works in.

Amanda Abbington (Wolfe, Mr Selfridge, I Hate Suzie, Sherlock) will play the lead role of Rowan, with newcomer Jesse Cescatti-McFarlane starring as Rowan’s son Finn who finds himself at the centre of a botched drug deal by a local gang. Warren Brown (The Responder, Trigger Point, Strike Back) stars as Rowan’s ex-partner Patrick, a career criminal who she reconnects with in order to help Finn. Sunetra Sarker (Casualty, Ackley Bridge, Cold Feet) stars as Varisha, Rowan’s loyal best-friend and co-worker. In addition, Francis Magee (White Lines, The Witcher, Brassic), Jonathan Nyati (Motherland, Breeders, This Way Up) and Seb Cardinal (After Life, This Time with Alan Partridge, Sally4Ever) also feature.

Mike Benson, Managing Director, Clapperboard commented: “We’re delighted Amanda has come on board. We know the warmth, relatability and nuance she will bring to Rowan – an ordinary woman forced to take extreme measures…She will have viewers rooting for her every step of the way. Amanda is joined by a very talented cast including the brilliant Warren Brown who seems to be in every hit show at the moment so we were thrilled he agreed to be part of the project.”

Adam Barth, Head of Development, Acquisition and Co-production at Eccho Rights added: “From an international perspective, this casting is very exciting, with Amanda and Warren in particular being so familiar to worldwide audiences from their starring roles in globally renowned shows like Mr Selfridge and The Responder. News of their inclusion in the series will be a huge boost to the international profile of Desperate Measures.”

Filming for Desperate Measures will commence shooting on location in 2022 and is set to transmit on Channel 5 later this year.

Jon Creamer

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