Siobhan Finneran

A new eight-part thriller for Netflix began filming in Manchester this week.

Siobhan Finneran will join Richard Armitage in The Stranger. The Oldham actress, who’s starred in Benidorm, Happy Valley and Cold Feet, will play ‘punchy’ DS Johanna Griffin whose pragmatic approach to police work is compromised when an investigation becomes deeply personal.

The suspenseful series is based on Harlan Coben’s bestselling novel of the same name and is co-written by Manchester’s Danny Brocklehurst.

It’s produced by Media City’s RED Production Company, which was founded by Nicola Shindler 20 years ago and has produced dramas such as Queer as Folk, Last Tango in Halifax and Butterfly.

The Stranger is the third collaboration for RED, Harlan Coben and Netflix, following the success of The Five and Harlan Coben’s 2018 hit Safe, which starred Michael C. Hall and was also filmed in Manchester.

Hannah John-Kamen

“I am thrilled to be working with RED again,” says Siobhan who starred in RED’s Bob and Rose and Clocking Off back in the early noughties, and more recently Happy Valley alongside Sarah Lancashire.

“It’s been a brilliant 20-year relationship and I feel very lucky and blessed to have that with them. After the success and utter joy of working on Happy Valley with them, it’s great to now be involved in such a new and exciting project.”

Jennifer Saunders joins the cast in her first major dramatic role as Heidi, Johanna’s closest friend. She’s an outgoing character who is seeking adventure after her daughter leaves for university.

“I’m delighted to be playing Heidi in this new Harlan Coben drama,” says the Absolutely Fabulous star.

“There is a great cast and production team with strong credentials lined up and we’re all looking forward to filming in Manchester.”

The series follows Adam Price (Armitage), a married father of two who finds himself tangled in a mysterious web of deception when a stranger reveals a shocking secret about his wife Corrine (Dervla Kirwan).

When Adam confronts Corrine, she disappears, kick-starting a chain of events with potentially devastating results.

Hannah John-Kamen, who’s had roles in Ant-Man and The Wasp and Ready Player One, plays the title character, a mysterious stranger who exposes people’s secrets, dropping bombshells that will shatter lives.

“I’m so excited to be attached to a special project for Netflix that is so thrilling and full of mystique. It’s a real page-turner of a show and I’m honoured to be part of it,” says Hannah.

The cast also includes renowned actor Stephen Rea as Martin Rinksy, a retired police detective who’s forced to confront events from the past; Paul Kaye as John Katz, a man pushed to extremes for the sake of his family; Shaun Dooley as Doug Tripp, a dedicated family man who might know more than he’s letting on; and Kadiff Kirwan as Wesley Ross, a young detective constable working alongside DS Griffin whose loyalty is tested when she asks him to keep an explosive secret.

Anthony Head will also appear as Edgar Price, the successful CEO of a large property development company trying to gentrify a rundown area. His world is rocked when a dark secret from the past is revealed.

“I am so pleased to be working with Nicola Shindler and Harlan Coben,” says Anthony.

“They’ve both built such brilliant reputations, creating shows in which mystery runs dark and deep, while being utterly believable. The Stranger is just such a fantastic script – Harlan’s concept is genius.”

What's on your mind?