Jack O’Connell returns to TV roots with new BBC thriller ‘The North Water’

Jack O’Connell attending the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House, Bow Street, London.
Jack O’Connell attending the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House, Bow Street, London.

It’s been a while since Jack O’Connell’s been on terrestrial telly, and the Skins star has been missed. But all that is set to change with the news he’s signed on to star in big new BBC drama, The North Water.

The period drama, which already has Colin Farrell on board, is set in the Arctic in the 1850s, but viewers should expect the chills to be generated by the storyline rather than the icy landscape. O’Connell will play ex-army surgeon Patrick Sumner, who enrols as the ship’s doctor on a whaling expedition to escape his past. But the voyage he embarks on will be more treacherous than anything that he has experienced before, because on the boat he meets the murderous and amoral Henry Drax (Farrell).

O’Connell won both the hearts of TV fans and critics alike when he played James Cook in the second cycle of Channel Four’s Skins. Since then he has been awarded a BAFTA Rising Star award, garnered critical acclaim for indie hit Starred Up and become fast friends with Angelina Jolie after she directed him in World War II drama Unbroken.

He’ll next be in cinemas in Trial by Fire, director Ed Zwick’s new drama about a man about to die on Death Row for the murder of his children. O’Connell will star opposite Laura Dern in the true-life tale.

Read more: ‘Trial by Fire Trailer sees Laura Dern try to clear Death Row inmate Jack O’Connell’s life

O’Connell’s career could have been very different though. He auditioned for the role of Han Solo in the Star Wars reboot, but the part eventually went to Alden Ehrenreich.

Read more: Jack O’Connell Calls Young Han Solo Audition Process ‘Frustrating’

The North Water will be directed by Brit Andrew Haigh and is adapted from Ian McGuire’s novel of the same name. Filming will start this Autumn.

Andrew Haigh says: “Jack is a fiercely instinctual actor who brings nuance and complexity to every character he plays. I can’t wait to see him bring Patrick Sumner to life.”

If you can’t wait for The North Water, you can catch O’Connell alongside Downton’s Michelle Dockery in Godless on Netflix now.