Unforgotten's Sinéad Keenan was "reticent" to join the show after Nicola Walker's departure

unforgotten series 5 sinéad keenan in uniform with police lanyard
Unforgotten star was "reticent" to join showITV

Unforgotten star Sinéad Keenan has revealed she was initially reluctant to join the show following Nicola Walker's departure.

Walker decided to exit the show following the conclusion of the fourth series, with her character DCI Cassie Stuart being written out and replaced by Keenan's Jess James.

Speaking to ITV about joining the show, Keenan revealed she was nervous at the prospect of filling the void left by Walker but was eventually convinced by the "brilliant" scripts.

unforgotten series 5 sinéad keenan and sanjeev bhaskar

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"When you come into an established show, it's very, very different. And obviously, I'd seen the show, and Nicola is brilliant, so I was initially reticent about even reading the scripts. But then I read the scripts, and they were brilliant," she said (via RadioTimes).

"When I spoke to my agent she said, 'Apparently it's a really lovely job', and I was like, 'OK, you're just trying to sell this now'. My fear was that I didn’t want to be filling a Cassie-shaped hole.

"But obviously, [writer] Chris Lang has created a completely different character with their own storyline, and it's great."

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Keenan continued: "So I was very glad to have been wrong, essentially. And the whole team behind Unforgotten is really lovely, I have not had an experience like that on any set.

"It was so smooth. And I could not have been made to feel more welcome. [That] was really lovely — I'm very lucky."

The fifth series, which began on February 27, sees Keenan's DCI James team up with DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) as they tackle cold cases of disappearance and murder. The latest series, like all the ones that preceded it, will consist of six episodes.

Unforgotten airs on ITV and ITVX at 9pm on Mondays.

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