Joe Armstrong Exits BBC One’s ‘The Whale’, Jolyon Coy To Assume Role

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EXCLUSIVE: It appears as though there has been a slight cast change on the upcoming BBC One/Discovery factual drama The Whale. It’s hard to get a clear read on the exact timeline, but a production source tells me that around the time of the first table read for the 90 minute film, a mutual decision was reached that cast member Joe Armstrong (The Village) would not be continuing in the role of Benjamin Lawrence. Instead, that role has now been recast and will be played by Jolyon Coy (The Hollow Crown).

Written by Terry Cafolla, The Whale tells the story of the whale-ship Essex, which was sunk by a whale in 1820. The drama is being co-produced by Discovery and BBC Factual Productions and stars Charles Furness, John Boyega (Law & Order: UK), Jassa Ahluwalia (Some Girls), Adam Rayner (Hunted), Jonas Armstrong (Hit & Miss), Paul Kaye (Game of Thrones), David Gyasi (Cloud Atlas) and Ferdinand Kingsley. Alrick Riley is directing the drama.

I reached out to representatives of the BBC for clarification and they confirmed that Joe Armstrong would not be appearing in the drama as we initally reported back in late March and that the role of Benjamin Lawrence would now be played by Jolyon Coy. In a statement to TVWise, representatives of the BBC said: “Joe was initially offered the role but decided not to continue with the project so we welcomed Jolyon Coy into the role fresh from a stint on theatre show Posh.”

  • Tania Troughton

    I am so sad! I was really looking forward to watching Joe perform again with his Robin Hood co-star, Jonas Armstrong!

  • Judy Nash

    I am extremely disappointed as well as I am a great fan of the BBC TV Version of Robin Hood in which both Jonas and Joe Armstrong played major roles throughout the series.

  • Salomé Naughton

    Sad! Do we know the reason why such a decision was taken?