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Trains have long provided mystery and thriller writers with ideas about all the things that could go wrong – and the BBC's upcoming thriller Nightsleeper brings us one more exciting tale of terrifying transport.
What's Nightsleeper About?
Nightsleeper brings viewers into a high-stakes scenario aboard the Heart of Britain overnight sleeper train when it becomes the focus of a cyber attack. The story unfolds in real time, focusing on the frantic efforts to thwart the escalating events onboard. Together, two strangers – one on the train, the other not – do everything they can to avert catastrophe.
Who's in the Cast of Nightsleeper?
The cast is led by Alexandra Roach (The Light in the Hall) and Joe Cole (Gangs of London). Alexandra portrays Abby Aysgarth, the Acting Technical Director at the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, while Joe Cole takes on the role of Joe Roag, an off-duty cop caught up in the unfolding drama.
Other cast members announced to date include Alex Ferns (The Devil’s Hour), Sharon Small (Inspector Lynley Mysteries), James Cosmo (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan), David Threlfall (Shameless), Katie Leung (Harry Potter), Daniel Cahill (The Control Room), Lois Chimimba (Vigil), Gabriel Howell (The Fence), Ruth Madeley (Years and Years), Adam Mitchell (Mother’s Day), Pamela Nomvete (Andor), Scott Reid (Maxine), Sharon Rooney (Barbie), Leah MacRae (Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything), and Parth Thakerar (Gangs of London).
Who's Involved in the Production?
Nightsleeper is the creation of BAFTA award-winning writer Nick Leather (Murdered For Being Different). Of the upcoming project, he said:
It’s a joy to be able to write for this cast of some of the finest acting talent in the UK today – our train is a real rollercoaster, a white-knuckle trip through the heart of Britain, and I’m delighted to have them join us for the ride.
The series is produced by Euston Films, a label of Fremantle. The series is directed by Jamie Magnus Stone (Doctor Who, Ten Pound Poms) and John Hayes (Dublin Murders), with Laura Grace contributing as a writer for episodes four and five.
The production team includes executive producers Kate Harwood for Euston Films, Nick Leather, Jamie Magnus Stone, and Gaynor Holmes for the BBC, alongside producer Jonathan Curling (The Sister) and co-producer Daisy Costello. Fremantle manages the global distribution of the series.
When Will Nightsleeper Premiere?
Nightsleeper is expected to premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in early 2024, though an exact date hasn't been announced at time of writing. The series will consist of six 60-minute episodes, each promising a thrilling and intense viewing experience.
Streaming outlets and premiere details have not yet been announced for other countries.
While You Wait: British TV Thrillers Involving Trains
While you wait for Nightsleeper, here are a few other British TV thrillers with significant scenes on trains…
- Sherwood – Set against the backdrop of the miners' strike in 1984, this tense crime drama has a few key scenes that take place on trains. Stream it HERE
- Bodyguard – This series, starring Richard Madden, opens with a tense sequence on a train that sets the tone for the entire show. The plot revolves around a war veteran turned bodyguard, who must protect a controversial politician amidst a web of political and personal intrigue. Stream it on Netflix.
- The ABC Murders – This adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel stars John Malkovich as Hercule Poirot. The story involves a series of murders with an alphabetical connection, and as with many Agatha Christie stories, the railway is involved in several aspects of the story. Stream it HERE
- Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express – Although a single episode (season 12, episode 3), this adaptation of Christie's famous novel perfectly captures the suspense and mystery of a classic train-based story – and nobody does Poirot better than David Suchet. Need another? Check out season 10, episode 1, “The Mystery of the Blue Train”. Stream it HERE
- The Tunnel – This crime thriller begins with a discovery in the Channel Tunnel, which connects Britain and France. The train connection is a bit weaker with this one, but it's there. Stream it HERE