Jimmy McGovern’s new BBC One drama series Broken has rounded out its cast.
Anna Friel (Marcella), Adrian Dunbar (Line Of Duty), Paula Malcolmson (Ray Donovan), Mark Stanley (Dickensian) and Muna Otaru (The Keeping Room) have signed on to star opposite Game Of Thrones star Sean Bean in the six-parter, which is being described as a “state of the nation piece”.
Penned by McGovern, Broken follows Father Michael Kerrigan (Sean Bean), a Catholic priest presiding over a Northern urban parish. Modern and maverick, yet reassuringly flawed, Father Michael must be confidante, counsellor and confessor to a conflicted congregation who, like himself, struggles to reconcile its beliefs with the hypocrisies demanded by contemporary Britain.
Friel will play Christina Fitzsimmons who lives in the heart of the community with her three children and mother. She works at the local betting shop but, even with her wages and the contribution of her mother’s pension, she’s still skint. The role reunites the actress with series creator Jimmy McGovern, with the two having previously worked together on the final season of BBC One drama The Street..
“The Street gave me one of my most rewarding roles and afterwards I promised myself that I would collaborate with Jimmy McGovern again”, said Anna Friel. “When the chance came up to work on Broken I jumped at it. Sean is a great actor, it’s a typically brave and truthful script from Jimmy and I’m back up North. It’s an important subject and a unique character. I can’t wait.”
Adrian Dunbar will play Father Peter Flaherty, Father Michael’s confidante and confessor; Paula Malcolmson has been cast as Roz Demichelis whose consuming gambling addiction has led her to a monumental decision that will change the lives of her family forever; Mark Stanley plays PC Andrew Powell who, after a police incident, is completely torn between his morals and his career; while Muna Otaru will portray Helen Oyenusi, a kind-hearted and devoutly Catholic mother who becomes a close friend of Michael, fully relying on him in her dark times, unaware of the secrets he has kept from her.
Broken is being produced for BBC One by independent production company LA Productions. Colin McKeown and Donna Molloy are the series producers. Lucy Richer, the BBC’s Acting Controller of Drama Commissioning, will executive produce alongside Sean Bean and Jimmy McGovern. Filming on the series, which was commissioned by then BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore and Controller of Drama Commissioning Poly Hill last December, gets underway this week in Liverpool. BBC Worldwide will handle global distribution.