Riches cast: who's who in the high-stakes drama

Riches cast
Abby Ajayi's six-part drama has been billed as a 'British Succession'. (Image credit: ITV)

Full of boardroom battles and sibling rivalry, Riches looks set to be a hit on both sides of the Atlantic and is now available to stream on ITVX (UK only) and Prime Video in the US.

The six-part drama focuses upon the exploits of the bold, super-successful, and wealthy Richards family, who are thrown into turmoil following the unexpected death of their patriarch, Stephen. 

Stephen's wife, Claudia, assumes their spoilt children will inherit his hair and beauty empire, Flair & Glory, yet she's shocked when he leaves it to his children from his first marriage, who live and work across the pond in America. 

Furious, Claudia launches her campaign to secure the company for her own, setting the scene for a messy showdown as both factions of the family vie for control of Stephen's business empire.

We take a look at all the most important players in Riches... 

Riches cast — Hugh Quarshie plays Stephen Richards

Riches

Stephen Richards dies unexpectedly at the start of the series. (Image credit: ITV)

Stephen Richards is a powerful symbol of the kind of assured, Black male success that is too rarely depicted on screen. He single-handedly built Flair & Glory into a market-leading, Black hair and cosmetics brand and even in death, Stephen looms large. Mercurial, secretive and ruthless, the ripple created by his death and the terms of his will echo through the first season. Stephen’s pursuit of business success brought great wealth and power to the Richards family, but at what cost?

Stephen is the divisive, complicated anchor that binds all our characters: loved and revered by some, loathed by others. In life, he was a hard man to know and in death, his children are struggling to figure out who their father really was. A layer of mystery surrounds Stephen’s death: why did he dramatically change his will six months ago? Why did Stephen reach out to Nina the night he died? Was he in danger, or was he just continuing to manipulate his family to the very end?

Deborah Ayorinde plays Nina

Riches

Stephen Richards chooses Nina as his successor. (Image credit: ITV)

Ambitious, intelligent, and headstrong, Nina (Stephen’s oldest child) has channeled all her abandonment and daddy issues into being a poster child for Black Excellence. She went to college early, got the MBA from an Ivy League school, she’s got the VP title at work, and yet, she’s been feeling restless in her life in New York. When she unexpectedly inherits Stephen’s company, Flair & Glory, Nina makes a rash decision to move to London. 

At first, she’s hellbent on finding out why Stephen called her on the night he died but slowly she’s dragged into the complicated Richards family dynamics. Nina’s desire to understand her late father, her animosity with her stepmother, Claudia, and her determination to find out who is stealing from the business, form the spine of the first series.

Nina presents as strong and confident and yet, there is a vulnerability too. She is guarded, and defensive, and has significant trust issues after becoming estranged from her father at an early age. She doesn’t trust Claudia and is determined to put Claudia in her place to make up for the past wrongs done to her mother, Oyin. Nina is suspicious of her half-siblings and the cushion of wealth that they take for granted and which she and Simon grew up without. Slowly, Nina is drawn to her half-siblings and begins forming attachments with the family she never knew. Nina prides herself on being firm but fair, but rivalries might well explode in the heated cauldron of family resentments.

Sarah Niles plays Claudia

Sarah Niles stars in Riches

Claudia is furious to find her children won't inherit Flair & Glory. (Image credit: ITV)

Brash, flashy, and outspoken, Claudia is Stephen’s second wife. She’s a volatile show-off, a woman who acts first and thinks later, Claudia leads with her heart and occasionally with her fists. You can take the girl out of Edmonton, but she stays street for life... even though he was married to her friend, Claudia, caught Stephen’s eye and has never looked back. 

She loves the lifestyle, wealth, and luxury that life with Stephen afforded her and she loves her children and would do anything for them. Marriage to Stephen was an emotional minefield and they both had their affairs, though Claudia kept hers discreet. The bombshell of Stephen’s will galvanizes Claudia; there's no way she's about to let Nina and Simon take what she thinks rightfully belongs to her family. 

Over the course of the series, Claudia proves to be a formidable antagonist for Nina. It would be easy to dismiss Claudia as a Chanel-wearing trophy wife, but her natural cunning and street smarts serve her well. She’s a quick learner and is about to fully immerse herself in how to mastermind a corporate takeover and retain control of the company. You come at this queen, you’d better not miss.

Ola Orebiyi plays Gus

Riches

Stephen's son Gus had expected to take over the family business. (Image credit: ITV)

Gus was supposed to inherit Flair & Glory. As Deputy CEO, Stephen was grooming him for the role but the will upends everyone’s expectations. Suddenly, the rug has been pulled out from under Gus and he doesn’t know where he fits in the new hierarchy at the company. Sandwiched between Alesha and Wanda, Gus wilts like the middle child that he is. He lacks the dynamism and charisma of his sisters and is a people pleaser, always trying to keep the peace. 

No one ever says it, but Gus knows he lacks his father’s killer business instinct; he’s never managed to get out of his father’s shadow and over the course of the series, this imposter syndrome dogs Gus at every turn. Does he have what it takes? Can he ever challenge Nina? And without his family’s wealth, can he make it?

Being robbed of the chance to be by his father’s bedside in his final moments unleashes a deep rage in Gus. In his life, he feels impotent but in setting his mind to taking down the racist police officer who prevented him from reaching Stephen’s side, Gus finds a focus and ruthlessness that he didn’t know he had. But, does he risk going too far?

Adeyinka Akrinade plays Alesha

Riches

Alesha is the eldest child from Stephen's second marriage. (Image credit: ITV)

Alesha, the first-born child from Stephen’s second marriage, has always been underestimated by her family. Alesha’s dyslexia was interpreted as stupidity by Stephen, leaving Alesha with very low self-esteem. A latchkey kid, she was a child when her parents’ business was starting to take off and she feels neglected in a way that her siblings were not. While Alesha was state-educated, by the time her younger siblings arrived, the money had come and they went to the affluent, posh schools. Alesha seethes with resentment and there remained a deep animosity between her and Stephen until his death. This ambivalence about her father proves an unexpected bond between her and Nina.

Alesha’s burgeoning career as an Instagram beauty influencer is a source of patronizing amusement and eye-rolling from her family, who see her “work” as superficial and juvenile, but Nina sees Alesha’s talent and taps into her knowledge about the cosmetics industry and uses it to help their struggling company. For the first time, Alesha is afforded a seat at the table and she starts to realize her value.

Over the course of the series, Alesha undergoes a transformation. When she's given a key role in the company, she finally has the kind of power and agency that was previously denied to her. But in disturbing long-established family dynamics, Alesha finds herself facing off against her mother and siblings, and it’s about to get heated.

Nneka Okoye plays Wanda

Riches

Wanda is shellshocked following her father's death. (Image credit: ITV)

Wanda is the youngest child, the family lynchpin, and the chief organizer, making her feel like something of a poster child for Black Privilege. She went to the most expensive schools, went on the skiing holidays, went to the best university; essentially, everything that money can buy. 

Wanda is a sharp, witty, woke, part-time activist, full-time feminist who is constantly decrying the 1%, all the while driving a Tesla and living with her boyfriend in a house bought by her father. Self-absorbed but also controlling, Wanda ensures that she stays across everyone’s business. Wanda can be thoughtless, and she quickly ends up in opposition with Alesha when she accuses her sister of siding with their enemies.

A self-declared daddy’s girl, Wanda's world is rocked by Stephen’s death. Though she doesn’t work in the business, she’s determined to see Nina and Simon ousted as quickly as possible. The arrival of new siblings and her increasingly complicated relationship with her actor boyfriend, Luke, destabilizes Wanda’s sense of self. Over the course of the first series, she’ll grapple both with her grief and try to figure out who she is and where she belongs.

Emmanuel Imani plays Simon

Riches

Simon fears he and Nina are in over their heads with Flair & Glory. (Image credit: ITV)

Simon is a successful, highly sought-after celebrity hair stylist living in the United States. Unlike Nina, he’s contextualized his daddy issues, had his therapy, and is thriving both personally and professionally. He counseled Nina to come to their dad’s funeral, but when they inherit the business, Simon rapidly starts to feel that they’re in over their heads. 

Stephen’s death wasn’t supposed to disrupt their lives quite so much. Simon is Nina’s closest ally and he proves an asset at Flair & Glory in that he’s able to understand the hair and makeup business and also easily charms those around him, gathering up valuable intel for Nina. It would be easy to underestimate Simon, but beneath his bubblegum exterior is a smart, strategic thinker with proven business acumen.

As the siblings and Claudia vie for control of Flair & Glory, Simon and Nina quickly start to disagree about their inheritance, with Simon eager to return home to the States. Simon is the least likely candidate to take the seat at the head of the company and he warns Nina about the cost of facing off with Claudia.

CJ Beckford plays Andre

Riches

Andre and Claudia are sharing a secret love affair. (Image credit: ITVX)

Andre is Flair & Glory’s CFO (and Claudia’s secret lover). Andre started as Gideon’s assistant and worked his way up in the company, with an eye on the top job. Smart and wily with a playbook gleaned from Machiavelli and The 48 Laws Of Power, Andre is a predator hiding in the long grass, constantly scanning for opportunities. He craves power. Andre has perfected a stoic, trustworthy right-hand man front but beneath that facade, he seethes at the spoilt Richards kids, none of whom have his talent or skill, in his opinion.

His affair with Claudia was just another means to get him closer to power; over the course of the season, he quickly realizes that Claudia’s volatility could be dangerous for him, and the arrival of Nina and Simon is yet another hiccup in his plans. Andre finds himself having to play both sides if he’s to survive the power struggle at Flair & Glory.

Brendan Coyle plays Gideon

Riches

Gideon is the executor of Stephen's will. (Image credit: ITVX)

Lawyer and the executor of Stephen’s will, Gideon was previously legal counsel and CFO for Flair & Glory. He worked with Stephen for many years before being ousted from the company by Claudia and Andre. Gideon and Claudia loathe each other, and Gideon wants Nina to run the company. 

Gideon is unable to explain why Stephen made such a dramatic change to his will. Over the course of the series, Gideon proves to be an invaluable consigliere, advising and guiding Nina as she settles into her position as CEO.

Hermione Norris plays Maureen

Riches

Stephen's PA Maureen is shocked by his death.  (Image credit: ITVX)

Stephen’s secretary for almost two decades. Maureen, as her title suggests, was Stephen’s keeper of secrets. She kept his schedule, made all his phone calls, handled his expenses. If anyone knows why Stephen changed his will or what was going on beneath the surface at Flair & Glory, it's her. But after decades of loyalty, is Maureen really ready to give up her secrets in this fresh fight?

Jourdan Dunn plays Davina Chase

Riches

Fun-loving Davina is played by Jourdan Dunn.  (Image credit: ITVX)

"Davina is fun-loving and harmless however when her integrity is being questioned she will let everyone know what time it is!" says actor and supermodel, Jourdan. 

"People need to watch this because it's a refreshing story about a Black British family in the UK which has never been seen before. It is filled with high-stakes drama, Black opulence, and empowerment. In my lifetime I've never seen anything like this on a UK screen.

"For so long Black beauty has been neglected in the beauty world which has forced us to step out and create our own products and own space. It's empowering to see a growing force of black female-owned businesses thriving and that now big brands are finally listening and seeking advice from us. The importance to see an aisle full of Black premium beauty products reaffirms that Black beauty is worthy."

The first season of Riches is now streaming on ITVX and Prime Video. 

Sean Marland
Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV, TV & Satellite Week and whattowatch.com

Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.