BAFTA-nominated Stephen Graham (This is England, ’86, ’88, ’90, Boardwalk Empire, Taboo) stars as Joseph, a moral yet troubled man who’s lost everything he ever held dear and who finds himself compelled to travel to Ireland to confront the demons from a childhood spent in the care system that continue to haunt him, with savage and brutal consequences. His path soon crosses that of Dinah, played by newcomer Niamh Algar (Without Name). She’s fiery and more than able to stand up for herself, but like Joseph she’s also deeply guarded, holding close a secret she’s hiding from all those around her.
Helen Behan (This is England ‘88 & ‘90) joins the cast as Anna, the sister Joseph hasn’t seen since they were separated as children, with Frank Laverty (Michael Collins, Angela’s Ashes) playing Michael, Anna’s husband.
At once an unlikely love story between two people cast adrift in life and an exploration of the conflict between sin and virtue, The Virtues (W/T) is a visceral and beautiful paean to the human spirit.
Shane Meadows says: “The Virtues reunites me with the peerless Stephen Graham, whilst also allowing me the chance to work with a host of supremely gifted actors and some incredible new talent. It takes the biblical, almost apocalyptic levels of revenge witnessed in Dead Man’s Shoes, along with the bittersweet humour from This is England and creates a landscape like nothing else I’ve ever worked on.”
Beth Willis, Head of Drama at Channel 4, says: “We are so thrilled that the giant of a genius that is Shane Meadows has, with Mark Herbert chosen Channel 4 to be the home of his next extraordinary story, world and unforgettable characters. This tender love story is complex and at times dark – but always shot through with heart and a large dose of humour.”
Written by Shane Meadows and BAFTA-winner Jack Thorne (This is England, ’86, ’88, ’90, National Treasure), The Virtues is directed by Meadows and produced by Mark Herbert (This Is England, ’86, ’88, ’90) and Nickie Sault (This Is England ’86, ’88, ’90). The 4X60’ series was commissioned for Channel 4 by Beth Willis, Head of Drama.
The Warp Films production will shoot on primarily on location in Sheffield, as well as in Liverpool and Belfast. The Virtues is filming now and will air on Channel 4 in 2019.