Born to Kill, Channel 4: cast, locations, and four other things to know about the psychopath drama

Ben Travis
Channel 4/Warren Orchard

If Line of Duty hasn’t already shredded your nerves to bits, there’s another intense thriller making its way to British screens.

Channel 4’s brand new drama Born to Kill is here with a gripping lead performance and a very dark subject matter.

Here’s what you need to know.

1) It’s about a young psychopath

The show focuses on teenager Sam, who hides his psychopathic desires. But there comes a point when the youngster can’t keep his urges under wraps anymore.

“From the outside, he’s a normal kid – he goes to school, he’s part of the diving team, he’s a good swimmer, the girls like him,” explains actor Jack Rowan. “But there’s a lot going on in his mind, and it’s essentially about to break.

“As the story goes on, he becomes increasingly cold and manipulative, while still being quite charming. He’s still capable of being quite normal, even relatable. At some points you might even feel sorry for him, in spite of the things he does in the story.”

2) It follows the nature / nurture debate

The question over disorders like psychopathy often comes down to nature and nurture – is a person pre-disposed to be a psychopath, or are they shaped that way by their environment?

Channel 4’s drama explores those ideas through Sam, as we learn more about his troubled upbringing throughout the series.

“I think we’re both interested in people’s dark sides and where that darkness comes from. Is it nature or nurture?” says co-writer Tracey Malone.

“We really wanted to subvert the classic idea of a serial killer, the man in his 30s living in a basement, we wanted to challenge that view by looking down the other end of the telescope, making Sam a boy. Would we feel differently about a serial killer if he was a boy?”

(Channel 4/Warren Orchard)

3) It’s got a break-out performance from Jack Rowan

Unless you watched Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, you probably won’t know Born to Kill’s lead actor Jack Rowan.

But the show is set to be a break-out for the star, as he convinces in a dark and complex role.

Rowan is joined by the likes of Romola Garai and Daniel Mays in the four-part series.

4) It doesn’t make light of its subject matter

Born to Kill tackles some seriously dark topics – but it’s not doing it gratuitously or superficially.

“It’s not taking the subject and making it entertainment in terms of it being enjoyable or glamorous,” Rowan says. “I think it takes the subject matter seriously, and it treats it honestly. You can make of that what you like.”

5) It’s co-written by Liz from Shaun of the Dead

Making her screenwriting debut is Kate Ashfield, working with established writer Tracey Malone.

Ashfield is best known for her role as Liz in Edgar Wright’s classic rom-zom-com Shaun of the Dead, and also starred in the first series of BBC hit drama Line of Duty as Jools Gates.

6) It was filmed in Cardiff

Wales continues to be a popular filming destination for lots of British dramas – and Born to Kill is the latest series to have been shot in the Welsh capital.

Channel 4, 9pm

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