Casting has been announced for The Hardacres, the new 6 x 60’ period drama for Channel 5 from Playground (All Creatures Great and Small).

Currently filming on location in Dublin and Wicklow, Ireland, the new series is based on CL Skelton’s best-selling series of novels ‘The Hardacre Saga’.  Banijay Rights will handle international distribution for the series.

The Hardacres is billed as a “sweeping rags to riches story that follows the lives, loves and fortunes of the working class Hardacre family as they move from a grimy fish dock to a vast country estate in 1890’s Yorkshire.”

The Hardacre family consists of Claire Cooper (The Continental, The Peripheral) and Liam McMahon (Hunger, The Secret, Warrior Nun) as loving married couple Mary and Sam Hardacre, who land on hard times following an accident at work on the docks, which leaves them unemployed and broke. Alongside, Julie Graham (Time, Ridley, Penance), starring as Mary’s  wily mother, Ma, and their three kids, Joe, Liza, and Harry, played by Adam Little (Ackley Bridge, Coronation Street), newcomer Shannon Lavelle and Zak Ford-Williams (Better), the family band together to think fast with a business venture that will free them from their humble existence on the North Yorkshire Coast and catapult them into high society.

Also joining the series are Holly Sturton (The School for Good and Evil) as Adella, Cathy Belton (Miss Scarlet & The Duke,The Catch, Philomena) as Emma and Owen Roe (Michael Collins, Vikings, Penny Dreadful) as George, making up the well to do Fitzherbert Family and new neighbours of The Hardacres. Ingrid Craigie (Blood, Blackshore, You Are Not My Mother) is housekeeper Mrs Dryden, with Siobhan O’Kelly (The Tourist S2) as Lena and Taheen Modak (The Bay) as Saunders.

The Hardacres has been created for television by Amy Roberts and Loren McLaughlan (The Winter King, Call the Midwife) who will serve as Lead Writers and Executive Producers. They are joined by Emma Reeves (The Worst Witch) who will write episode 3, and Liz Lake (Waterloo Road) who will write episode 4. Rachel Carey (Deadly Cuts) is Lead Director of Episodes 1-3. And Kieron J Walsh will direct Episodes 4-6.

The series is produced by Playground (All Creatures Great and Small, Wolf Hall, Howards End, The Undeclared War) in association with Screen Ireland, Red Berry Productions and Newgrange Pictures.

The series, commissioned by Deputy Chief Content Officer, Paramount UK, Sebastian Cardwell, alongside Paul Testar, Commissioning Editor, Drama, Channel 5 and Paramount+, will be produced by Alex Jones (Witness Number 3, Penance) and co-produced by Jackie Larkin (Strike, Mrs Wilson); Executive Producers are Sir Colin Callender CBE (All Creatures Great and Small, The Undeclared War) and David Stern (Howards End, The Last Tycoon) for Playground, Lesley McKimm (My Name is Emily, Sunlight) for Red Berry Productions, Cathy Payne and Simon Cox for Banijay Rights and Andrew Byrne for Screen Ireland.

The Hardacres is planned for transmission in 2024.

David Stern, Executive Producer and Joint Managing Director of Playground says: “We’re incredibly excited to have found a cast that embodies and enhances the spirit, humour and humanity that leaps off the page in both the original novels and the brilliant scripts by Amy, Loren, Liz and Emma. Audiences will undoubtedly fall in love with our fantastic group of actors, made up of both seasoned talent and exciting new faces, as they bring this spirited and sweeping rags to riches saga to life on screen.”

Simon Cox, Executive Producer and EVP Content & Acquisitions, Banijay Rights, says: “We fell in love with the world of The Hardacres from the first read of the scripts and we’re delighted with the ensemble cast that Playground has assembled. We’re in no doubt international audiences will enjoy embarking on the journey with this talented family of actors.”


Jon Creamer

Share this story

Share Televisual stories within your social media posts.
Be inclusive: is open access without the need to register.
Anyone and everyone can access this post with minimum fuss.