An all-Irish cast will join EastEnders’s Kat and Alfie Moon in their spin-off drama series Redwater, the BBC has said.
Set in a fictional village in Ireland, the six-part adventure has been created by outgoing executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins.
Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace, Alfie and Kat respectively, will appear alongside Downton Abbey’s Maria Doyle Kennedy, Lost’s Fionnula Flanagan, and Ian McElhinney from Game Of Thrones.
Kat and Alfie Moon, played by Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie (Ray Burmiston/BBC)
Redwater’s ensemble also includes Shameless star Angeline Ball, Brooklyn’s Peter Campion and The Tunnel’s Stanley Townsend.
The cast is rounded out by Oisin Stack, Stephen Hogan, Susan Ateh, Ian Toner and Ebony O’Toole-Acheampong.
London-born Jessie, 44, said: “I walked into the drama read-through to a table full of wonderful Irish actors and it was thrilling.
Jessie Wallace (Ian West/PA)
“They all made me feel so very welcome as we started to read the first script. It’s going to be a roller-coaster.”
Shane, 52, said: “Wow! What an honour to be in this unbelievable drama and working alongside some of Ireland’s finest actors.
“At the moment it’s a whirlwind so I’m just getting into the new scripts, which are electric.”
Talking about Redwater, Fionnula said: “This is a fascinating character, full of secrets, deceit and manipulation. My favourite!”
The Dublin-born actress, who has starred in three Star Trek spin-off TV series, added: “It’s a wonderful story which will keep you guessing forever and ever.
“Great writing and a fabulous director.”
Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan (Irish Film and Television Awards/PA)
Redwater is a picturesque Irish harbour village, a quiet rural idyll by the sea where the Kelly and Dolan families have lived for generations.
When Kat and Alfie Moon arrive in search of her long-lost son, Kat’s quest for the truth uncovers secrets the village of Redwater would rather were left buried at sea.
The BBC One series, produced by Casualty’s Vicky Wharton, will be broadcast in 2017.
— DomTreadwellCollins (@dominictc) March 30, 2016
Directed by multi-award-winning Dane Jesper Nielsen, of Borgen fame, it has been scripted by EastEnders writers, including Life On Mars creator Matthew Graham, Casualty’s Julie Dixon, Holby City’s Lauren Klee and Death In Paradise’s Matthew Barry.
Dominic hailed Redwater as ‘very special’, while Jesper pointed to ‘echoes of a Shakespearean drama’.
“It was our intention from the start to create a new contemporary ensemble drama set in Ireland and we are so thrilled and lucky to have such a talented team on board for Redwater,” Dominic said.
EastEnders’ Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace (Ian West/PA)
“It is testament to the quality of Jesper, Matthew and the other writers, as well as the producer Vicky’s tenacity that we have assembled such a high calibre of cast and crew to join Shane and Jessie in such a beautiful setting. We all know that we are creating something that is going to be very special.”
Jesper said: “We have a really important and fantastic story to tell. About how one woman’s search for a lost child opens Pandora’s box; revealing the terrible lies and secrets in the little village of Redwater.
“A story about how the strong bonds of love in a family can hold everything together, and yet at the same time – destroy everything. It has echoes of a Shakespearean drama, told in a rich cinematic style, loaded with humour and suspense. I cannot wait to start the shooting and see the characters coming to life.”
Filming begins next week in Ireland.