‘The West Wing’ Star Martin Sheen Joins BBC One’s ‘The Whale’

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Veteran Hollywood actor Martin Sheen (The West Wing, Anger Management) has joined the cast of BBC One’s upcoming factual drama The Whale, TVWise has learned.

Sheen has been cast as the elder Tom Nickerson, while newcomer Charles Furness – who has since moved on to a role in BBC One’s three-part drama Jamaica Inn – plays the younger Tom Nickerson. The 90 minute drama, which saw a major cast change just as production was set to begin in April with Joe Armstrong exiting the production and Jolyon Coy assuming Armstrong’s role, is set to air on BBC One this Christmas.

Written by Terry Cafolla, The Whale tells the story of the whale-ship Essex, which was sunk by a whale in 1820. The drama follows Nickerson as, against all odds, he comes through the worst that nature throws at him, growing up fast in the process. He faces the destructive force of sea storms, the power of whales, the brutal desolation of the sun and sea after the shipwreck, and finally, the grim realities of dark deeds as his only means of survival. The Whale is being co-produced by Animal Planet 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. The Whale was directed by Alrick Riley.