The Holiday on Channel 5

The Holiday on Channel 5 cast: Jill Halfpenny joined by host of famous faces in new drama

Four-part thriller starts on March 1

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Jill Halfpenny and Owen McDonnell head up the cast of new Channel 5 drama, The Holiday.

The four-part series starts on Tuesday, March 1 and continues to run over the following three nights.

It’s based on the best-selling book, The Holiday by T.M. Logan.

And you’ll definitely recognise some of the other members of the cast too.

Here’s everything you need to know about the cast of The Holiday.

Jill Halfpenny in The Holiday
Kate makes a shocking discovery (credit: Channel 5)

Read more: Channel 5 drama The Holiday – what’s it all about?

Jill Halfpenny leads the cast as Kate in Channel 5 drama The Holiday

Jill Halfpenny plays mum-of-two and police officer, Kate, who makes a shocking discovery about her husband, Sean while on holiday in Malta. The couple, who have been together since university, are away with their friends and families when Kate finds out Sean’s having an affair. And he’s having it with one of her three best friends.

Jill, 46, is a well-known face on British TV. She played another Kate in EastEnders, who was also a police officer, from 2002 -2005.

Jill played a nurse called Rebecca in Coronation Street too, breaking up Martin and Gail Platt’s marriage. She’s also a former Strictly Come Dancing champion and was a regular on Waterloo Road.

More recently, Jill played Jodie Walsh in Channel 5 drama The Drowning.

Speaking about The Holiday, Jill said: “Lots of people I know had read the book, and so I read it and really enjoyed it.

“Thrillers are always fun to shoot and I like the idea of an audience trying to work things out all the time – one minute you trust someone, then you hate them, then you like them…

“Even having filmed the series, I watched the episodes just recently and I didn’t know what to think about any of these characters.

“They’re all really shady at different times – if this were  a game of Cluedo then you would decide they are all the killers!”

What did Jill say about filming in Malta?

She also spoke about filming in Malta in the height of lockdown: “Malta was in a pretty strict lockdown when we were there, so we were in complete isolation for 14 days,  doing fittings and read throughs on Zoom, and then we were working six day weeks, so we had to just go  to set, film, and go back to our hotel rooms.

“There was a beach right outside the hotel, but police were  patrolling it, making sure people wore masks, so it wasn’t very relaxing!

“We would much rather be working  in those conditions than not working at all though, so we were all still really pleased to be out there.

“It was a shame not to be able to go to a nice local restaurant though, we knew the hotel menu off by heart by the end and couldn’t face another curry! 

“Malta opened up two days before we were leaving so everyone rushed out to Valetta to buy gifts and see people!

Sally Lindsay and the Madame Blanc crew were on Gozo, the island next to Malta, at a similar  time, so we were texting each other to see how things were going.”

Jill also spoke about how well the cast bonded while filming The Holiday.

She said: “They were all lovely, and funny, which is always a good thing. Aiden McArdle especially is very fun,  and we all had the same mindset, trying to make it a nice job while also getting the work done.

“Everyone  missed their family though, it’s really hard not to be able to go back at all. Owen was doing story time and bedtime on Zoom every night with his kids, which was really sweet.”

Owen McDonnell in The Holiday
The Bay’s Owen McDonnell joins the cast of The Holiday (Credit: Channel 5)

Owen McDonnell plays Sean

Sean is Kate’s husband and he’s clearly distracted as the family arrive for their holiday in Malta.

Owen is also a familiar face to TV viewers. He played Eve Polastri’s husband Niko in Killing Eve. More recently he was seen in ITV drama The Bay and Three Families on the BBC. He’s also had roles in Spooks, Silent Witness and Mount Pleasant.

Speaking about his role as Sean, Owen said: “He was fun to play! It was both fun and challenging because you don’t really want the audience to make up their minds, you want them to be constantly unsure about Sean.

“So there are moments when you see the warmth in him and other times where you wonder what his beef is, why is he acting like that? 

“He’s being deceitful and shady, but could he be doing it for the right reasons? He’s breaking the trust he has with Kate either way, so it puts him in a shocking position.

“I hope the audience will wonder what they would do in a similar situation as well. The right thing to do is always be really open, but you don’t always do that because of the risks.

“I enjoyed that complexity, because every scene is working on a number of  different levels, so it was challenging but ultimately good fun as well.”

Jenny in The Holiday
Is Jenny the woman Sean’s cheating with? (Credit: Channel 5)

Liv Mjones is Jenny

Jenny is one of Kate and Sean’s eldest friends. They’ve known each other since university. Jenny is mum to troubled teenager, Jake. She’s married to Alistair.

Swedish actress Liv is best known for playing Ulla in folk horror film, Midsommar. Liv, 42, is a mother-of-two in real life.

Siobhan Hewlett in The Holiday
Rowan is another contender (credit: Channel 5)

Siobhan Hewlett is Rowan

Rowan is another university friend of Kate and Sean. Which means that she’s also on Kate’s list of suspects for sleeping with her husband. Rowan is the one who brings the friends together after being loaned the villa in Malta by a client.

Rowan’s married to Russ and is mum to Odette. Rowan is Kate’s best friend, but is she even closer to Sean?

Siobhan is a star of both stage and screen. She’s had roles in The Syndicate, Sherlock, McDonalds and Dodds and Torchwood to name a few. She also considers Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy as friends.

Talking about what drew her to The Holiday, Siobhan said: “When I first saw the scripts, I had just been to Bristol for a job, and visited one of my best friends from drama school.

“We spent this really magical time together that just made me realise how these deep, longstanding friendships really matter – you’re really your true self when you’re with your oldest friends and the hugs and laughter transported me back to being 18.

“So when I saw the women’s friendship in the script it reminded me of my own friend, and I liked the idea of exploring that. Also I was blindsided by the twists and turns, I couldn’t see them coming at all.”

Cat Simmons The Holiday
Is singleton Izzy the traitor? (credit: Channel 5)

Cat Simmons is Izzy

Jet-setting Izzy is the other friend who Kate thinks could be having an affair with Sean. While the rest of the group have husbands and kids, Izzy is the cool-singleton. Could her lack of life-baggage have attracted Sean? By episode 2 (Wednesday, March 2), Kate certainly thinks that there’s something going on between Sean and Izzy.

But is she right?

Cat is best known for her role as Kezia Walker in ITV’s long-running police show, The Bill. She also starred in Ordinary Lies on BBC One. Cat’s also had roles in Holby City, Killing Eve and Moving On.

Aidan McArdle is Alistair

Aidan McArdle The Holiday
Alistair is married to Jenny (Credit: Channel 5)

Jenny’s husband, Alistair, finds himself in trouble on the holiday when Kate and Sean’s daughter, Lucy accuses him of taking photos of her. What will Kate find when she demands to see his phone? Is Sean not the only husband with secrets?

Aidan is best known for playing Lord Loxley in ITV drama Mr Selfridge. He also starred alongside Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan in BBC serial killer thriller, The Fall. Aidan was also in 2020 drama, The Trial of Christine Keeler.

Aidan’s cousin is Steve Coogan of Alan Partridge fame.

Andrew Macklin in The Holiday
Man of mystery, Russ (Credit: Channel 5)

Andrew Macklin is Russ

Russ is married to Rowan, but not much else is known about his character. Could the mystery shrouding him mean something?

Andrew is an actor and also coaches other thespians. Professionally, he’s had roles in Mr Selfridge, Doctor Who, Doctors and Fair City. Andrew said on Twitter that he learned two important things while filming The Holiday on Channel 5.

He told his followers: “The two things I learned on this holiday were A) Standing in formation & B) No one gets wine before @halfpennyjill gets wine!”

Lara McDonnell in The Holiday
Lucy is hiding something from her parents (Credit: Channel 5)

Lara McDonnell plays Lucy

Lucy is the teenage daughter of Sean and Kate. After finding out about Sean’s affair, Kate fails to notice Lucy’s strange behaviour around Jenny’s dysfunctional son, Jake. But what exactly has happened between Lucy and Jake? And who knows about it?

Lara, 18, is a relative newcomer to the worlds of stage and screen. Most recently she was in movie Belfast, playing Moira alongside Jamie Dornan. She also appeared in Artemis Fowl, a Disney+ film.

Speaking about being cast in The Holiday, Lara said: “I love thrillers and murder mysteries. I’d actually read the book already and absolutely loved it.

“It’s a very surreal moment when an offer comes through to play a part in a book that you love! The  story is just amazing, it keeps you hanging on at every single moment, so I couldn’t wait to bring it to life. 

“When I first received the completed episodes, I went off to my room to watch them and said: ‘Nobody talk to me for four hours!’. Even though I’d filmed it, I needed to know what happened next after every scene, it’s better than I could have imagined.” 

Shaun O’Callaghan Wade
Newcomer Shaun plays troubled Jake in The Holiday (credit: Channel 5)

Read more: Three Families on BBC One – who’s who in the new drama?

Shaun O’Callaghan Wade plays Jake

Jake is Jenny’s dysfunctional son and there is something going on between him and Kate’s daughter, Lucy. But while Kate is distracted by suspicions of husband Sean having an affair, has she missed something important about Lucy?

Shaun is a newcomer to acting, so taking on the role of complex and dysfunctional Jake was quite the baptism of fire.

The Holiday will air across four nights on Channel 5 from Tuesday March 1 – Friday March 4 at 9pm. Also stream on My5.

New drama on Channel 5 | The Holiday starts Tuesday 1st March at 9pm | Official Trailer

Will you be tuning in to watch The Holiday on Channel 5? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

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