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Sunday 15th December 2019

The Virtues: Everything we know about Shane Meadows' new Channel 4 drama

The Virtues will hit our screens this spring

This is England writer Shane Meadows is returning to Channel 4 with a gritty new drama starring BAFTA-nominated and Line of Duty star Stephen Graham.

As with its creator's other masterworks, The Virtues will tackle revenge, redemption and a host of other heavy themes when it lands this spring.

Shane Meadows is writing and directing (Credit:

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Here's everything we know so far.

What is The Virtues about?

The Virtues will tell the story of Joseph (Stephen Graham), an alcoholic whose life is thrown into turmoil when his ex decides to move from Liverpool to Australia in pursuit of a better life, taking their young son with her.

Stephen Graham (Credit: Martin Evans /

Haunted by memories of a dark childhood spent in the care system, Joseph takes a boat to Ireland to tackle the ghosts of his past head on and reunites with his sister Anna, whom he hasn't seen in years.

It's a story that Shane has wanted to tell for a while even before This is England began.

Who's in The Virtues?

The Virtues is set to feature a number of faces you might recognise.

Helen Behan, who played a nurse in This is England '88 and '90, was cast for the role of Joseph's sister, Anna, who persuades her husband to let her down-and-out brother stay with them.

Helen Behan as the nurse in This is England (Credit: Channel 4)

Actor Frank Laverty, from the 1996 biopic Michael Collins, will play Anna's husband, Michael, who is wary of Joseph but ends up giving him a job in their family-owned construction business.

The Virtues will also feature Niamh Algar as Dinah, Michael's sister. Joseph finds himself drawn to her, perhaps because she, too, is haunted by secrets from her past.

Niamh Algar will play Dinah (Credit: @niamh_algar Instagram)

Joining them is actor Mark O'Halloran as Craigy, who Channel 4 describes as a "shadowy figure... dogged by dark rumours".

What do we know about production of The Virtues?

The Virtues, from Warp Films and Big Arty, is co-written by Shane Meadows and fellow This is England writer Jack Thorne. It is produced by Mark Herbert, who worked on the This is England film and all three TV series, alongside Nickie Sault, who was an assistant director on those four productions.

The Virtues is shot on location in Sheffield, Liverpool and Belfast.

According to media platform IBC365, producer Mark Herbert said of the series: "This is clearly authored by Shane which means it has a huge heart, incredibly powerful performances and that mix of humour he finds in characters and situations, but this is very much a focus on one man rather than an ensemble piece.


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"It's a story that Shane has wanted to tell for a while even before This is England began. It's all about timing. Is there the right actor and right time to tell this story.

"The script was a blueprint which was workshopped and changed in rehearsals with the actors."

British composer and recording artist PJ Harvey, known for her work on Peaky Blinders, is creating the score.

When is The Virtues on Channel 4?

At this stage we don't have an exact air date. Channel 4 currently lists the release as Spring 2019.

Are you looking forward to The Virtues? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think.