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The death of a partner is not normally a subject that could be dealt with in a light-hearted way – but that is exactly the basis of Finding Alice, the new ITV series starring Keeley Hawes.
"Finding Alice is a heartfelt, human take on grief. On what happens when somebody dies. A human, real, ultimately hopeful take on bereavement," said writer Roger Goldby.
"Alice is somebody who is grieving, but also having to deal with the mess left behind after the person’s gone. We’re not shying away from any of the pain but we’re also embracing the humour that comes with the pain.”
The series is available to watch on BritBox.
Find out all you need to know about this black comedy-drama.
What is Finding Alice about?
This contemporary drama focuses on Alice’s blackly comic journey of grief following the death of her partner Harry, who fell down the stairs in their new dream house. She soon discovers that Harry left behind secrets including debt and crime for her to deal with.
Co-creator and writer Simon Nye said: "It's a naturalistic story, life with the boring bits taken out. I do get frustrated sometimes with television, that it doesn’t hit that middle ground of human life - comedy, tragedy, the normal with the occasionally extraordinary.
"Even after a death, most of us are programmed to seek the light. When Alice falters in that, we hope showing her moments of despair will make for cathartic viewing. Most TV deaths are murders - Harry’s death is almost banal by comparison, but I think all the more interesting for it."
Who is in the cast?
Keeley Hawes stars as Alice with Jason Merrells playing her partner Harry.
The star-studded cast also includes Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous, Gangsta Granny) and Nigel Havers (Coronation Street, Don't Wait Up) as Alice’s parents Sarah and Roger. Gemma Jones (Gentleman Jack, Unforgotten) and Kenneth Cranham (Hatton Garden, Bancroft) play Alice’s in-laws Minnie and Gerry.
Other cast members include Isabella Pappas as Alice’s daughter Charlotte, Sharon Rooney as Harry’s sister Nicola and Rhashan Stone as mortuary worker Nathan Johnston.
Alice Dillon played by Keeley Hawes
Alice has never been a very practical person. She’s brought her daughter Charlotte up to believe that life is beautiful and to be enjoyed; the boring bits like money and house maintenance will take care of themselves. Except now she’s not so sure. In recent years she’s been working part-time at a bridal shop. Alice is the first to admit that she’s not great at the job - she’s too honest, chaotic and interested in her clients to keep it “professional”- but the people skills will come in handy when Harry’s sudden death kicks up a storm of secrets, debt and suspicion, which Alice will be forced to confront in order to survive.
Harry Walsh played by Jason Merrells
Harry was Mr Charisma, a working-class boy made seemingly good. Brilliant at making and fixing things, hands-on, the money-maker, while Alice was the creative one. Harry was so proud of and devoted to Alice. He wanted his family to have a special house, so he designed them one, a bit flash but fun. Harry, so passionate and sure of himself, was Alice’s rock. When in reality Harry had become a screw-up, but increasingly adept at covering it up. A successful builder, he had moved into property development, where the real money was to be made. And, it turns out, lost.
Charlotte Walsh played by Isabella Pappas
Charlotte is bright, beautiful and funny, the perfect mix of Alice and Harry. Growing up as an only child never bothered her before. To Charlotte, Harry and Alice were more than parents, they were her best friends. Everything changes when their team of three becomes two and Charlotte quickly realises that being an only child isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. With Harry gone and Alice struggling to cope, Charlotte is forced to bottle up her grief and be the responsible one. But with Charlotte busy looking out for Alice, who’s looking after Charlotte?
Sarah Dillon played by Joanna Lumley
Sarah is blunt and prickly. She believes she was destined for better things and can’t help placing all the blame on Roger. Once a glamorous model, she had big dreams of fame and, most importantly, fortune. When they first met, Roger was an ambitious law student, but now Sarah finds herself stuck in a strained marriage with an oversensitive small-town solicitor. She does love Roger; she’s just forgotten why. And she can’t help but feel cheated, like she’s wasted her best years on a lost cause. Sarah might disagree with a lot of Alice’s decisions, but she’ll stop at nothing to save her daughter from suffering the same fate as her. Afterall… she’s only being honest.
Roger Dillon played by Nigel Havers
Roger is mild and needy. Ultimately Roger feels like he’s a failure. Sarah’s called him one so many times he’s started to believe it, and he’d much rather keep the peace than cause a fight, even if it means putting up with her insulting behaviour. All Roger really needs is a project to stop him feeling worthless. But when Alice turns to her father for legal advice, Roger begins to feel like he’s bitten off more than he can chew. Is Roger capable of stepping up for his daughter and standing up to his wife…? Or was Sarah right about him after all?
Minnie Walsh played by Gemma Jones
Minnie is sweet and pathologically ‘helpful’. Minnie is devastated by the loss of her only son and now finds herself conflicted. She wants to be the supportive grandma for Charlotte and a good friend to Alice, but Gerry’s been hurt by debt in the past and Minnie’s scared of going backwards. Minnie’s nerves will be put to the test as Gerry and Alice continue to butt heads over the mess that Harry left behind. While Minnie might seem like the quiet one in the family, in order to keep the peace Harry’s dear mum will need to find strength she never knew she had.
Gerry Walsh played by Kenneth Cranham
Although Gerry might appear to be a stubborn pragmatist, in truth he’s neurotic, terrified of history repeating itself. Just like Harry, Gerry tried to move from being a builder to a developer. But when his business crashed and burned, it left Gerry and his family in a difficult financial bind. Now Gerry’s determined to put a brave face on his grief and protect himself from debt at any cost. Gerry might believe that he’s acting in his family’s best interests but the more he pushes, the more he risks tearing his family apart.
Nicola Walsh played by Sharon Rooney
Harry’s younger sister Nicola is a mass of uncontrolled energy, with a frustrating habit of blurting out the wrong thing at the wrong time. In their parents’ eyes, Harry was the golden boy who could do no wrong, whereas Nicola’s life has been a series of disasters. Although she works hard to be the ‘fun one’, the unexpected death of her big brother sends Nicola spinning. Without Harry around as her safety net, Nicola is forced to look at her life and learn how to stand on her own two feet. But will Nicola’s parents ever take her seriously?
Tanvi Lal played by Ayesha Dharker
Tanvi is smart, tough and practical. She too comes from a family of builderdevelopers and Tanvi has more to prove to her family than most. Only recently back in town, Tanvi is fiercely protective of her private life and prefers to keep her cards close to her chest. Although she claims to be an accountant, it’s clear that Tanvi knows more about Harry’s business than she’ll admit to Alice. Tanvi may think she’s in control of the situation but underestimating Alice could be her downfall.
Nathan Johnston played by Rhashan Stone
Alice meets mortuary worker Nathan when she goes to say her final goodbyes to Harry’s body. Whilst she’s initially shocked by his blunt attitude towards death, Alice soon realises that Nathan has a deeply personal understanding of how it feels to lose someone you love. Nathan has made it his mission to make death less destructive for others, and soon becomes Alice’s ‘Death Guru’. As their friendship develops, Nathan turns out to be a tower of strength for Alice in her time of need.
Graham Napely played by Graeme Hawley
Alice first meets friendly accountant Graham at Nathan’s bereavement group. Having lost his wife a year ago, Graham is trying to learn how to cope as a single parent and do his best for his young son. Graham is good looking, single and keen to get back on the dating scene. He soon develops a soft spot for Alice, but as Graham’s feelings grow stronger, he becomes less caring, more insistent, and runs the risk of pushing Alice away altogether.
Yasmina Dunne played by Dominique Moore
Yasmina is kind and genuine but not to be underestimated. Before Harry died, Yasmina really enjoyed her job as his assistant. Despite his flaws, Harry was a great boss and always looked out for Yasmina. Now someone new is in charge and suddenly it feels like the rug has been pulled out from underneath her. A natural born people-pleaser, Yasmina goes out of her way to help Alice and Charlotte and they soon become good friends. But as she blurs personal and professional lines, Yasmina’s well-meaning efforts to help Harry’s family could come at a price to herself.
How many episodes are there?
There are six episodes of Finding Alice – and they’re all available on the ITV Hub from January 17.
Where was it filmed?
The show is set in the fictional Surrey town of Manning, so filming took place across the county as well as in London.
Epsom was one of the filming locations, and locals identified the town’s Rosebery Park as one of the sites.
Is there a Finding Alice trailer?
Yes there is! You can watch the trailer right here:
Is there a season 2?
Yes! ITV has confirmed the show has been recommissioned for a second series.
Keeley Hawes, who is also an executive producer on the show, said: “I’m so pleased to be reuniting with the brilliant team behind Finding Alice for a second series. We’ve been honoured to hear from so many viewers who have related to Alice’s experience of grief, and look forward to sharing the next stage of her journey.”
Filming will begin in February 2022. Picking up a year on, the second series will explore the consequences of Alice deciding to have her dead husband's baby.
Watch Finding Alice season 1 on BritBox.