ITV Red Eye start time, full cast list, filming locations, plot and how many episodes

Undated ITV Handout Photo from Red Eye. Pictured: Jing Lusi as DC Hana Li and Richard Armitage as DR Matthew Nolan.. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ TV Red Eye. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ TV Red Eye.

ITV's brand new thriller Red Eye will kick off on Sunday, April 21. The drama stars Jing Lusi, Richard Armitage, Lesley Sharp, and Jemma Moore and is set on the red eye flight from London to Beijing.

Red Eye is the collision of three worlds – DC Hana Li (Jing Lusi), Journalist Jess Li (Jemma Moore), and MI5's Madeline Delaney (Lesley Sharp). All three women are thrown into the same life-threatening conspiracy when a British doctor (Richard Armitage) is arrested for murder upon flying home from Beijing.

Richard said of taking on the role: "I got the script with [writer] Peter Dowling's name on it and I remembered watching this brilliant film he made with Jodie Foster called Flightplan. I was slightly obsessed with it at the time, I just loved the scale of the aeroplane and the fact that the whole movie was set on this labyrinthine beast in the air.

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"When I read the Red Eye synopsis, I realised that he was taking inspiration from that movie and expanding it into a six-part series, and I thought the idea of setting such a claustrophobic story on a night flight was just brilliant. I liked the challenge of playing somebody of Nolan’s status and intellect, being thrown into a prisoner situation where he has no authority. In a way, the aeroplane is its own little democracy because he's not on any country’s soil, so he's thrown to the lions.

"I thought it would be really interesting to see somebody like him realising that he needs to fight for his freedom. After I read the first two episodes I just really hoped the show was going in the direction I thought, and actually it went much further, which was brilliant. I love the fact that the scale opens up and we find ourselves dealing with an international problem working up to a big finale. It’s always frustrating when dramas have a disappointing ending, but this is great So much so that I want more, it was so delicious I’d love to see these charactersthrown back into another political situation for a second season.

When does Red Eye start?

Red Eye kicks off on Sunday, April 21, at 9pm on ITVX and ITV1. The first episode is an hour long, with following episodes airing weekly at the same time on the same channel.

Red Eye full cast list

Undated ITV Handout Photo from Red Eye. Pictured: Richard Armitage as DR Matthew Nolan. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ TV Red Eye. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ TV Red Eye.
Richard Armitage as DR Matthew Nolan -Credit:Copyright remains with handout provider

Jing Lusi as Hana Li

Richard Armitage as Matthew Nolan

Lesley Sharp as Madeline Delaney

Jemma Moore as Jess Li

Dan Li as Toni Zhang

Zoe Telford as Amber Hurst

Lucianne McEvoy as Kate Ward

Thomas Chaanhing as Chén

Jonathan Aris as John Tennant

Xiangyi Tan as Tiffany

Oliver Maltman as Steven Hurst

Robert Gilbert as Simon King

Rick Warden as Chris Peele

Aidan Cheng as Wú

Cash Holland as Ruth Banks

Kevan MacKenzie as Len Delaney

Mido Hamada as Mike Maxwell

Tai Yin Chan as Rén Yúnxi

Daphne Cheung as Mrs Ruǎn Yuè

David KS Tse as Minister Aìguó Táng

Ken Bradshaw as Officer Miller

Where was Red Eye filmed?

Richard Armitage in new ITV thriller Red Eye
Richard Armitage in new ITV thriller Red Eye -Credit:ITV

The team filmed at Stanstead airport, which was filling in for Heathrow. Producer Kristian Dench said: "Our locations team did a fantastic job setting that up. There were a lot of logistics to consider, as you can imagine, because we are airside with about 200-250 people working as crew and supporting artists.

"You need a marshal for every four people, and every piece of kit needs a security check. But everybody rose to the challenge."

While executive producer Lachlan Mackinnon added: "It's a live situation at the airport, so as much as you plan for it, there is huge organisation involved in getting 250 people through passport control. Then when you start filming you think you’ve planned everything out, but then a plane will land and passengers need to walk through the middle of your set for an hour.

"Kristian and Kieron (Hawkes, our director) really had to think on their feet, they did so incredibly well keeping everybody focused on what we had to achieve when they were under significant time pressure."

Meanwhile, the plane shots were shot on a plane, actor Jing said: "I loved the plane! We were there for six weeks, and it became a bit of a running joke because I loved that plane so much, I practically moved in. The little nook under the seat in front of me was like my second bedroom, full of my belongings: slippers, hoodies, snacks, umbrellas... They even got caught in a shot one time and the crew had to cut and clear all my stuff out! As much as I love filming on location, it’s nice to get homely in a studio and really settle in.

"Before we started filming on the plane, we weren’t too sure how the space was going to work, because it wasn’t a purpose-built set where you can remove the walls for cameras, it was a real plane. For example, every time we filmed a scene, someone would have to close the doors manually, so it didn’t look like there was a door open on the side of the plane in mid-air! Thanks to the director, cinematographer, and the phenomenal crew, theymade true magic out of that small space."

How many episodes of Red Eye are there?

There are six-hour-long episodes of the thriller. You can keep up to date with the latest TV and showbiz news by signing up to the newsletter here.