The Virtues: Channel 4’s Gritty New Drama Airs Soon

Stephen Graham as Joseph in The Virtues (Credit: Channel 4).

By Trixie Pacis | 2 May 2019 at 5:40pm

Channel 4’s bold and visceral new drama The Virtues shapes up to be a promising one. The show will appear in four parts and explore themes of repressed memory, bottled rage, and revenge.

The Virtues was penned by the Bafta-winning writers behind This is England, Shane Meadows and Jack Thorne. The project also reunites them with acclaimed actors from TIE. Meadows directs the mini-series, once again demonstrating his inimitable style.



The series tells the story of a downward-spiraling alcoholic who is pushed over the edge when his ex-partner leaves Liverpool with their son. With his family gone to Australia and nothing left in Liverpool to live for, Joseph seeks out is long-lost sister in Ireland.

His sister Anna and her husband Michael take Joseph in and give him work. There, Joseph meets a strange figure who forces him to face his demons. He also meets Michael’s troubled sister Dinah, who is haunted by her own ghosts.


Returned to the land of his youth, Joseph must confront a blur of violent, repressed memories from his childhood in a local care system — the very memories he’s spent a lifetime trying to erase with alcohol and drugs.



Stephen Graham reunites with Meadows and Thorne to play the lead role, Joseph. Graham is known for his role as Combo in This is England. He has also appeared in Taboo, Boardwalk Empire, and Little Boy Blue. His performance in Save Me received a Bafta nomination. Film appearances include Snatch, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Catch him on screen in Line of Duty or in upcoming films The Irishman, Rocketman, and Greyhound.

Helen Behan stars alongside Graham, playing his sister Anna. Behan also appeared in This is England, as well as the Irish drama Take Down. Catch her next big screen appearance in Wildfire.

Credit: Channel 4

Frank Laverty (Rebel Heart, On Home Ground and Raw) plays Anna’s husband Michael, a character who is initially wary upon Joseph’s arrival. However, Michael eventually gives Joseph a job at his family company.

Niamh Algar plays Michael’s sister Dinah, an intense young woman with her own dark secrets. She sparks a relationship with Joseph, which may spell trouble for both. Newcomer Algar has appeared in several British series including MotherFatherSon, Pure, and C4’s The Bisexual. She will also appear in Ridley Scott’s upcoming US series, Raised by Wolves.

Other supporting talents include Mark O’Halloran and Tom Davis. O’Halloran (The Guard) is a rather shady character named Craigy, who plays an integral role in forcing Joseph to face the demons of his past. Davis (Murder in Successville) plays a bartender at the pub that Joseph frequents.


In addition to great writers and talent, the series features music from the multi-award-winning composer and recording artist PJ Harvey. The British artist is known for the score for Peaky Blinders series two and stage productions such as The Nest, Electra, and All About Eve. Her 2016 release The Hope Six Demolition Project topped UK charts.

UK Air Date

The Virtues will air in 4 parts on Channel 4, starting at 9pm on Wednesday, May 15th.

Catch the trailer for a preview of what’s to come below.


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