Desperate Measures: cast, plot and all about Amanda Abbington’s new thriller

Desperate Measures on Channel 5 will star Amanda Abbington.
Desperate Measures on Channel 5 will star Amanda Abbington. (Image credit: Getty)

Desperate Measures arrives on Channel 5 soon and sees Sherlock star Amanda Abbington teaming up with Trigger Point star Warren Brown and former Casualty star Sunetra Sarker for an edge-of-your-seat thriller. 

Amanda plays diligent bank clerk Rowan Taylor, whose teenage son Flynn is forced into a drugs deal that goes horribly wrong. With a violent gang leader demanding that Finn returns the money he lost and his life in jeopardy, Rowan finds herself with no choice but to carry out a dangerous heist at the bank where she works. 

Here’s all we know about Channel 5 drama Desperate Measures so far…

Desperate Measures release date 

Desperate Measures is four-part series will premiere on Channel 5 in early 2023 but there’s no confirmed date yet. 

Watch this space and we’ll update you when one is released. The show will also be available on the streaming service My5.

Desperate Measures plot

In Desperate Measures, Rowan (Amanda Abbington) is a hard-working bank clerk and single mum who has raised her young son Finn on a lawless estate while paying off her absent father’s debts. 

Then one day Finn is coerced into a botched drugs deal by the local gang and finds himself shouldering the blame. He must pay back the money or deal with the consequences. 

As the ruthless gang leader makes it clear there will be no let-offs for her son, Rowan reluctantly reconnects with her ex-partner and career criminal, Patrick (Warren Brown) and commits to robbing the bank she works for. 

Desperate Measures cast — Amanda Abbington as Rowan

Amanda Abbington is the lead in Desperate Measures and she plays Rowan, a woman prepared to do anything it takes to save her son’s life. 

Previously Amanda has played Mary Watson in the series Sherlock, Miss Mardle in Mr Selfridge and Dot in the show Wolfe. Amanda has also starred in Harlan Coben's Safe, Cuffs, I Hate Suzie, Das Netz- Prometheus, Flack, Safe, Married Single Other, After You’ve Gone, The Bill and Dream Team. She's currently starring in ITV1 comedy The Family Pile.

Amanda Abbington (far right) in The Family Pile.

Amanda Abbington (far right) in The Family Pile. (Image credit: ITV)

Warren Brown as Patrick

Warren Brown plays Patrick, a career criminal. He began his career as Donny in Shameless before going on to play Andy Holt in the soap Hollyoaks. Warren played DS Ripley in the hit series Luther and has also been in Grownups, Inside Men, Occupation, Moving On, Trigger Point, Strike Back, X Company and The Responder

Warren Brown.

Warren Brown. (Image credit: Getty)

Sunetra Sarker as Varisha

Sunetra Sarker plays Varisha, Rowan’s best friend and co-worker at the bank. She is known for her roles as Kaneez in Ackley Bridge as well as Zoe Hanna in Casualty. She has also starred in Sherwood, The Bay, Cold Feet, Informer, Broadchurch, Emmerdale, Brookside and No Angels. She also was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.

Sunestar Sarker.

Sunestar Sarker. (Image credit: Getty)

Who else is starring in Desperate Measures 

Newcomer Jesse Cescatti-McFarlane plays Rowan’s son, Finn while Francis Magee (White Lines), Jonathan Nyati (Motherland) and Seb Cardinal (After Life) round out the cast. 

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.