The Long Call: Who is in the cast and where have you seen them before?


The Long Call cast

The Long Call has a fantastic cast (Picture: ITV)

Detective drama The Long Call begins tonight on ITV with a stellar cast, featuring many faces viewers will recognise from elsewhere.

The four-part murder mystery series, which will play out over the course of the week on the channel, is based on Ann Cleves’ bestselling book of the same name.

With stars from the show having previously popped up all over TV screens, we’re here to give you the lowdown on where you’ll have seen this wonderful cast before.

What is the plot of The Long Call?

the long call pearl mackie ben aldridge

Pearl Mackie and Ben Aldridge play colleagues in the new drama (Picture: ITV)

Ben Aldridge leads the way in terms of casting, starring as Detective Inspector Matthew Venn, who has recently returned to North Devon with his husband Jonathan (Declan Bennett), after being rejected by his family due to his sexuality 20 years ago.

His old Evangelical church has also turned its back on him, with Matthew having little support in the village he once loved.

With it clear Matthew’s life isn’t as rosy as you might first think, it’s not the only thing the DI has to deal with as he’s thrown straight into the horrors of a murder case, after a man is stabbed on the beach.


Venn and his team have to get to the bottom of the intricate case which also brings up old wounds and a deadly secret in order to expose the killer.

The drama will then plays out over the following episodes, with it sure Matthew will be kept very busy by all the difficult aspects to his life.

Who is in the cast?

Ben Aldridge plays DI Matthew Venn

ben aldridge in the long call

Ben Aldridge stars as DI Matthew Venn (Picture: ITV/Joss Barratt/Rex/Shutterstock)

Ben will certainly be having a lot to deal with as DI Matthew Venn and the star will be an instantly familiar face to many, having acted in multiple roles in popular TV shows in recent years.

His most-famous gigs include playing Captain James in Our Girl, alongside Lacey Turner and Thomas Wayne in DC Comics series, Pennyworth, but he will also recognisable to Fleabag fans who’ll remember him as the ‘A**ehole Guy’ from the beloved Phoebe Waller-Bridge show.

Speaking about the casting herself, author Ann gushed about the leading man to press, sharing: ‘I can’t think of anyone who could play Matthew Venn better than Ben Aldridge – he will bring an authenticity and commitment to the role

‘I always hoped that the actor chosen would come from Devon, where the books are set, and he does. Ben was the actor who read the audio book even before the TV show was commissioned. I love his pared-back, restrained narration. 

‘He’s worked on the novel as well as the script, and so he understands the character in depth.  No author could wish for more.”

Juliet Stevenson plays Dorothy Venn

juliet stevenson in the long call

Juliet Stevenson plays Dorothy Venn, a deeply religious woman and Matthew’s mum (Picture: ITV/Joss Barratt/Rex/Shutterstock)

Juliet plays Matthew’s estranged mother Dorothy in the series, who is very committed to her faith and lives a life of religious devotion – which has contributed to the deep problems between her and her son.

She told press of how she was excited to play someone very different to herself with her role, saying: ‘In relation to Dorothy, I thought well here’s a chance to play somebody radically different from me.

‘I don’t have a religious faith – I actually have issues with religion. But I love playing a long, long way from me – the further the better in lots of ways because I’ve worked for quite a long time and it’s much more interesting and challenging.’

Fans will recognise Juliet from her extensive list of TV and film credentials over the years, including playing Keira Knightley’s mum in Bend It Like Beckham, a leading role in film Truly Madly Deeply as well as starring in BBC drama The Village, alongside a host of performances on the stage.

Anita Dobson plays Grace Stephenson

Anita Dobson in the long call

Anita plays Grace Stephenson, who she describes as ‘a sad’ woman (Picture: ITV/Joss Barratt/Rex/Shutterstock)

Grace has been described by Anita as ‘a sad, wretched woman whose life has dribbled away from her,’ in contrast to many of the actress’ more lively roles.

She will be most famously remembered for playing Angie Watts in EastEnders and on Christmas Day in 1986, 30.15 million viewers tuned in to witness on-screen husband Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) handing her divorce papers, giving the soap its highest ever episode rating.

In more recent years, she was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actress for the National Theatre production of Frozen and took part in 2011 series of Strictly Come Dancing with Robin Windsor.

Some fans of the actress may also be interested to know Anita is married to none other than Queen music legend, Brian May, with the pair having tied the knot in 2000.

Pearl Mackie plays DS Jenn Rafferty

Pearl mackie in the Long call

Pearl’s character Jenn has recently moved down from London (Picture: ITV/Rex/Shutterstock/Joss Barratt)

Jenn has been described as a ‘tough and fiercely determined woman who has recently relocated to Devon with her two teenage kids, Ella and Ben.’

The DS is a single parent who has moved down from London with her children as she tries to help heal from her difficult past with distance, which is easier said than done.

Of course, Pearl Mackie is best known for playing Doctor Who companion Bill Potts in the long-running sci-fi show but she’s also popped up elsewhere in beloved comedy Friday Night Dinner and in a Years & Years’ music video for their song Real.

Her theatre credits include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and playing Lulu in The Birthday Party at The Harold Pinter Theatre – both in the West End.

Martin Shaw plays Dennis Stephenson

Martin Shaw in The Long Call

Martin shaw starred as Inspector George Gently for a decade (Picture: ITV/Joss Barratt/Rex/Shutterstock)

Martin Shaw’s character Dennis is Grace’s husband, who is a spiritual leader in the North Devon community in which Matthew once called home.

To ITV viewers, Martin’s face will be a very familiar one as he’s starred in Inspector George Gently in the titular role for a decade up until 2017.

Martin has many credits from TV, theatre and film to his name, having starred as Banquo in Roman Polanski’s 1971 Macbeth film, which remains one of his most well-known roles.

He’s also been seen in roles in the BBC adaption Strike: The Cuckoo’s Calling and comedy-drama series Cranford in 2007.

The Long Call begins tonight at 9pm on ITV.

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