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The Bay Season 3 Cast: Meet the characters from ITV’s captivating crime drama
Series 3 of The Bay means a new story and a fresh line up of characters to get to know. We speak to the actors and creator of the show to find out what’s in store for this year’s ensemble
ITV’s popular crime drama The Bay returns to our screens this year, with a new story and characters to unravel - plus old favourites to get reacquainted with.
The big news for series 3 is of course the arrival of a new lead Family Liaison Officer (FLO), after Morven Christie, who played DC Lisa Armstrong in series 1 and 2, left the show.
Marsha Thomason (Cobra, Lost) takes the mantle as DS Jenn Townsend, alongside the returning DS Karen Hobson (Erin Shanagher). She's thrust into a new investigation focused on the Rahman family.
Here, we introduce you to the key cast members and how their characters impact events in Morecambe this series...
Marsha Thomason plays Family Liaison Officer, DS Jenn Townsend
The new kid on the block is DS Jenn Townsend, who arrives in Morecambe to take on the lead Family Liaison Officer role from DC Lisa Armstrong (Morven Christie), who Hobson explains has gone to work for the National Crime Agency in London.
DS Townsend is played by Mancunian, Marsha Thomason, who explains how it felt joining the cast and taking the lead role:
“This is the best role I’ve ever played; it gave me the opportunity to be in almost every scene and to follow Jenn in her work life and in her personal life.
“My life was mirroring Jenn’s really; I was joining an established team and I was nervous. But everybody was just so very welcoming and excited. It was very easy actually. I had first-day nerves for sure, but once we got the ball rolling, I just felt like I’d always been there.
“Jenny’s super-nervous on her first day. The way she comes in and is straight onto a case, it’s a lot. She’s very good at her job, but she’s in a bit of a crisis when we meet her. When she gets to work, she’s just on it and focused and getting it done. She doesn’t have to think too hard about that, it just comes naturally to her. It’s a crazy first day.
“When she has her moments alone, we see ‘oh maybe things aren’t quite as they seem with her’. There’s her work face and a private face.
“She really cares about the people she works with; she cares about the families. And she’s just good at it. She’s found her calling.”
Erin Shanagher plays DS Karen Hobson
DS Karen Hobson returns for series 3, helping DS Townsend to settle in and playing a pivotal role in forming a relationship with the Rahman family, particularly Jamal. Describing her role in series 3, Erin Shanagher explains:
“They (Hobson and Townsend) meet on the job and there’s literally a ‘hello, hello’ and they’re straight into interviewing and working on the investigation. It’s more those stolen moments between the scenes where they get to know each other and watch each other work. The relationship’s lovely.
“What I really loved was that there was no competition. There was immediate respect for one another and even though they both work quite differently, they really complement each other. There’s no drama, it was just straight into ‘let’s solve this case’.
“At this point Karen’s only been a FLO for over a year and Jenn comes from the city with a much larger task force, and there’ll be intimidation there because she’s so much more experienced. But Karen’s born and bred in Morecambe and she knows that world. I think between them they can fill in the blanks. She’s thrilled to be working on this case and it’s a big deal to her, but she’s still learning.”
And speaking of learning, Erin had to pick up a new skill for the show too. A big part of her role is using sign language to communicate with a deaf member of the Rahman family, Jamal, played by Nadeem Islam.
“What an incredible gift to be able to learn something so incredible, " she says. "Nadeem was always interested and supportive and encouraging, and funny! He was amazing at, between takes, discussing what works for him and for the scenes. The communication throughout was incredible. It was a real privilege.
“Initially, when I learned I was going to do it, I was absolutely thrilled. Then came the fear of ‘this is so important. I have to do this right.’”
Rina Mahoney plays Mariam Rahman
Series 3 of The Bay introduces the Rahman family, with Rina Mahoney playing the mother, Mariam. She faces many challenges right from the start, including the devastating death of her son Saif. Rina Mahoney elaborates:
“It’s not straightforward even before the death of one of her three sons. It’s quite complicated in that she lost her first husband a few years ago and decided to up and move her entire family to Morecambe to start a new life. Unfortunately, that life doesn’t quite work out the way she’d hoped.
“Saif settled very easily in Morecambe and seemed to have a thriving life with his boxing, but unfortunately things don’t go quite as planned. I think that only makes her relationship with her other two sons more complex than it already was. It’s a Muslim family but she’s not traditional. Already there were fractures there.
“There are moments when she absolutely loses it, there are moments when she’s sort of catatonic with grief and then there are moments when you see her explode. As an actor, it was great fun because you got to play all these different emotions. Of course, no one would want to be there in reality.”
Michael Karim plays Adnan Rahman
Michael Karim (The Tower) plays one of the Rahman sons and is perhaps the most disenfranchised of the family, as he struggles to deal with his emotions, grief and the ever-changing relationship with his mother and younger brother. Michael Karim says:
“I suppose you’d call Adnan the black sheep of the family. You see that the relationship with his mum and his brothers has been strained due to the fact that his father has died and what’s gone on since. He’s was expected to become the man of the house, but he himself wasn’t ready for that. He needed some help dealing with grief.
“Mariam, my mum, was going through her own stuff with alcohol and different issues, so she wasn’t able to be there as much as Adnan needed. His answer was to alienate himself from the family, move out on his own and seek solace with his mates and go out drinking, partying, getting into trouble, and not being part of that family unit.
“As you see during the series, he tries to do his best – when Saif is murdered he tries to be there for his mum and help out where he can, but because the relationship is so strained at that point his mum takes out her frustrations on him. And I think likewise Adnan does the same thing, he does try but he’s got a lot of resentment and built-up anger that he hasn’t dealt with.
“Playing an Asian family, it’s really refreshing that the story isn’t just focused on the fact that you’re Asian. I didn’t feel that there were massive plot points that bang you over the head with it. It’s just a window into a normal family in Morecambe and the trials and tribulations that they’re going through.”
Nadeem Islam plays Jamal Rahman
The role of Jamal is a particularly interesting one. Nadeem Islam is a deaf actor playing the role of a deaf son who has to deal with the sudden murder of his older brother and all the pressures that places on the family. He forms a close bond with DS Hobson who communicates with him through sign language, while his relationship with his brother Adnan and mother Mariam evolves throughout the series. Nadeem Islam explains:
“As I developed the character, I could see how his relationship developed with his family. Being deaf, he didn’t have speech and it was difficult for him to hear and be involved with family life, so that’s why he became so withdrawn and isolated. He certainly didn’t want to be seen as a black sheep but was very much isolated because he was unable to communicate.
“He was quite a moody young teenager as a character. He wanted to communicate, but people don’t understand him. It was quite frustrating for him. Sometimes he’d have no idea what was going on and it was all quite overwhelming, but even though he couldn’t hear everything, he could see what was going on around him. All that information was taken on board and he made those connections.
“I was quite shocked because it’s rare that a deaf person forms such an amazing bond, especially with someone like a policeman in authority, but it was great to see her (DS Hobson) being able to sign to me. It made quite an impact on my character and the story.
“It’s so important to have deaf representation in mainstream TV. Right now there’s about 800,000, 900,000 deaf people out there in the UK. To have deaf people in the story is fantastic.”
Gary Lewis plays Vinnie Morrison
Vinnie owns the boxing club where Saif Rahman was making a name for himself before being murdered. Gary Lewis comments:
“For Vinnie, Saif represented really what he saw as the best example of what this club is for. He’s also a great example for other young people. He was very close to him and as well as being a mentor, there was a degree of a paternal relationship as well.
“It’s just the weight of the grief, it’s the heaviness of it – Vinnie carries a lot of that too. He really cared for him.
“The boxing club becomes its own family. Vinnie is aware of the challenges. He’s of an age where he understands the difficulties faced by the people in the community and the different challenges faced by Muslim families or very poor families. The club really is a bubble of solidarity, where we look out for each other.”
Daragh Carville – Co Creator and Writer
Speaking about the challenges and what to expect from season 3 of The Bay, co-creator and writer Daragh Carville says:
“Obviously, it was a big change when we learned that Morven was moving on. Personally, I felt it was very sad because she was so brilliant in the show in series one and two. She brought so much to that character and I loved writing for her and for Lisa.
“But at the same time, it was also an opportunity to reinvent things and refresh the show, and to see what else we could do with this world and with these stories. It’s very much The Bay, but it’s almost like it’s a new show too, so that was really exciting.
“For series 3 I knew that we wanted to go somewhere really different. I knew we wanted to tell a story about a different part of the community in Morecambe and I was really keen to tell a story about an Asian family. But I was also very conscious of the fact that’s not my story to tell.
"So we brought on board another writer who worked really closely with me, Ferquan Akhtar, a brilliant writer who in a few years is going to be running the world. A lot of the distinctiveness of this family comes from Ferquan’s sense of the reality and texture of those lives. That’s an element of series three that I’m really proud of and really excited about.”
And of course, many of the show’s established characters are making a return.
“One of the great pleasures of having a returning series is that we can continue to explore characters and get to know them better. DI Manning, Dan Ryan, is in many ways right at the heart of the show. We always have our guest family every year, the family that’s impacted by the crime, and then we always also have the FLO and their family, and we also have the police family, and DI Manning is very much the dad of the police family. We have recurring characters – Clarky, Eddie and Karen – it’s lovely to go back to those characters and extend those stories.”
The Bay Series 3 premieres on ITV on Wednesday 12 January at 9pm.