Stephen Graham (The Virtues, Line of Duty), Tom Courtenay (45 Years, The Aeronauts) and Peter Mullan (Mum, Top Of The Lake) have joined the cast of The North Water, See-Saw Films’ adaptation of Ian McGuire’s Arctic whaling novel for BBC Two.
The trio will support leads Colin Farrell and Jack O’Connell on the four-part miniseries, which is written and directed by Lean on Pete and 45 Years’ Andrew Haigh.
Farrell plays harpooner Henry Drax, who sets sail on a whaling expedition to the Arctic with Patrick Sumner (O’Connell), a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as the ship’s doctor.
Hoping to escape the horrors of his past, Sumner finds himself on an ill-fated journey with a murderous psychopath. In search of redemption, his story becomes a harsh struggle for survival in the Arctic wasteland.
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Graham plays Captain Brownlee — who commands the Volunteer ship on which the characters set sail — and Courtenay features as the ship’s owner. Mullan appears in episode four in a “pivotal role.”
Sam Spruell (Outlaw King, Legend), Roland Møller (Atomic Blond, Land of Mine), Philip Hill-Pearson (The Bay, Three Girls) and Kieran Urquhart (Vera, Humans) have also joined The North Water’s cast.
Executive producers are Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman for See-Saw Films, Niv Fichman for Rhombus Media, and Jo McClellan for the BBC. Kate Ogborn is the producer.
The North Water is a co-production with Rhombus Media, with Pioneer Stillking providing production services in Hungary, where filming is taking place. BBC Studios is selling the show internationally.
The production has just spent three weeks filming on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. They journeyed as far as 81 degrees north to film sequences in the pack ice, which BBC Studios believes is the furthest point north a drama has ever been shot before.