Henpocalypse! — release date, cast, plot, trailer, interviews and all about the new comedy

Henpocalypse! is a comedy that sees a disaster happening during a riotous hen party!
Henpocalypse! is a comedy that sees a disaster happening during a riotous hen party! (Image credit: BBC)

Henpocalypse! is a BBC2 comedy that shows the world hit by a deadly virus called 'crab measles'. If you had to choose a way to see out the end of time in 2023, the chances are sharing the terror with a high-maintenance hen party in an isolated cottage in Wales wouldn’t be at the top of your list. But that’s exactly where we find the characters in Henpocalypse! which stars Elizabeth Berrington, Lucie Shorthouse, Callie Cooke, Lauren O’Rouke and Kate O’Flynn. And EastEnders legend Danny Dyer has a guest starring role! 

Henpocalypse! is penned by Caroline Moran and follows bridezilla Zara (Lucie Shorthouse) and her fellow working-class hens from the West Midlands as they look forward to celebrating her forthcoming nuptials. But the hen-do celebrations are cut short when it becomes clear that the apocalypse is on the way. Writer Caroline Moran says: “This is a dream cast, the locations are epic, the apocalypse has never been so much fun”

Here’s everything you need to know about Henpocalypse! on BBC2...

Zara and her hens attempting to survive the Henpocalypse!

Zara (at front) and her hens attempting to survive the Henpocalypse!  (Image credit: BBC)

Henpocalypse! release date 

Henpocalypse! is a six-part comedy series that starts on BBC2 on Tuesday August 15 at 10pm, with all six episodes landing on BBCiPlayer from then. We’ll update you on the show's US and international air dates and channels. 

Is there a trailer for Henpocalypse!?

Yes the BBC has released a trailer for Henpocalypse! whcih shows the mayhem when 'crab measles' hits the world and the Hens are trying to survive it! Take a look below...

Henpocalypse! plot 

Henpocalypse! follows five women on the ultimate hen-do – which doesn’t exactly go to plan. Demanding bride Zara (Lucie Shorthouse) sees her fun weekend in an isolated cottage in Wales ruined when the apocalypse strikes, in the form of a deadly disease called 'crab measles' — so and her four hens are forced to wait it out together. Then, as they emerge into the harsh, new, post-apocalyptic world, they discover the entire male population has been wiped out, except for their hired stripper Drew (Ben McGregor). Can the hens put aside their fractious relationships and work out how to survive together as they are forced to take on a group of radicalised Pilates instructors and use sex toys as weapons? 

Henpocalypse! first look. The BBC2 comedy is arriving in 2023.

Henpocalypse! The party is ruined while in full swing. (Image credit: BBC)

Henpocalypse! cast — Lucie Shorthouse on playing Zara 

Lucie Shorthouse, who plays bridezilla Zara, says: "Henpocalypse! is very fun, effervescent, bubbly, and larger than life. I love that it's a female-centric comedy, so I got to work with a great group of women. What also attracted me was that I know these women; the voice is so hearty and homey in terms of what I know and the people I know from growing up, so it felt like a great homage to Midlands girls.

"Zara is the bridezilla of all bridezillas, it's her hen do and it's the reason why they've gone away and she's very much ‘me, me me’, she’s the centre of attention and this wedding of hers will be the greatest event in history. I don't think she's even envisaged her life after the wedding to be honest, so this apocalypse is most inconvenient because the event of the century is now being impaired.

"I definitely recognise parts of myself in Zara, a younger me for sure and it was quite fun to relive those kind of more self-absorbed less evolved days. I can definitely relate to Zara's petulance, I know that when I'm tired or when I'm around my dad in particular, I revert to little childish, petulant Lucie and it's very Zara-esque! I was channelling 18 year old me when I was in playing her."

* Lucie Shorthouse previously played Paige Pennington in Bulletproof and Momtaz in We Are Lady Parts. She’s also been in Ten Percent, Cleaning Up, Everyone’s Talking About Jamie, Doctors and Line of Duty

Lucie Shorthouse as Zara in Henpocalypse!

Lucie Shorthouse as Zara in Henpocalypse! (Image credit: BBC)

Lucie Shorthouse as bridezilla Zara in Henpocalypse!

Lucie Shorthouse's bridezilla Zara is trying to survive an unwelcome disaster that hits her hen party. (Image credit: BBC)

Elizabeth Berrington on playing Bernadette

Elizabeth Berrington stars as Bernadette, who is Zara’s formidable mother. She says: "I was attracted to the writing of Henpocalypse! as it’s such a preposterous premise and the situations the characters find themselves in are so comical,  the jokes & punchlines are absolute comedy classics. Bernadette is a survivor, a very dominant force of nature. You absolutely want Bern on your team at all times, she’s the Mick Lynch of the post-apocalypse she’ll put up with absolutely no BS at the end of the world.  ‘All opinions expressed are my own’! I think Bern has nerves of steel and stupendous confidence and is absolutely nothing like me at all. I’m not sure I’d defend anyone or anything in her situation, I’d just crumple & weep.

"Zara is the best thing that’s ever happened to Bern. She is Bernadette’s pet project; she has lavished all her time, money, energy & looks on bringing up Zara, and Zara must BEND TO HER MOTHER’S WILL OR ELSE!"

* Elizabeth Berrington previously played Ruby Fry in Waterloo Road and starred in the comedy Moving Wallpaper. She’s also starred in The Nevers, The Pact, The Responder, Sanditon, Vanity Fair, The Syndicate and the film Yesterday.

Elizabeth Berrington as the mother of the bride.

Elizabeth Berrington plays the mother of the bride. (Image credit: BBC)

Kate O’Flynn as Jen

In Henpocalypse! Kate O'Flynn plays one-woman disaster area, Jen. She starred as Fiona in the comedy series Everyone Else Burns and she's also had roles in Death in Paradise, Landscapers, Close To Me, No Offence and Bridget Jones’s Baby

Callie Cooke on playing Shelly

Callie Cooke is playing put upon chief bridesmaid, Shelly. 

Callie says: "It’s not every day you get a script about a group of women from the Midlands trying to survive the apocalypse. I thought the script was completely mad but completely hilarious. Shelly is our very hard done by but wonderfully loveable chief bridesmaid. I guess we see a lot of the show through her eyes, and she deals with platonic love versus romantic love, all whilst trying not to get eaten by zombies!! Shelly makes some questionable decisions but ultimately, she has a huge heart. I also think trying to survive an apocalypse with my best mates would be great craic.  Shelly deals with a huge guilt complex and struggles to find her feet with the other girls. Zara hasn’t been the best to her over the years and her confidence is pretty shot. 

"The cast are the new loves of my life and working with them all was an utter joy. I’m not sure you can even call it work. I’ve never been on a show where the main 5 cast are all female. I think it created a totally safe and warm space where people really enjoyed coming to work. We were all able to be ridiculously silly with one another with absolutely zero ego in the room. Every single crew member (particularly the lads) became honorary hens by the end of the shoot."

* Callie Cooke has also starred in Wedding Season, Cheaters, The Stranger, Britannia and Rules of the Game.

Callie Cooke as Shelly.

Callie Cooke as Shelly. (Image credit: BBC)

Ben McGregor as Drew

Ben McGregor is the one regular male cast member of Henpocalypse! playing entrepreneurial stripper Drew who is a male survivor of the deadly crab measles virus. He's previously starred in The Tuckers.

Ben McGregor as stripper and male survivor Drew.

Ben McGregor as stripper and male survivor Drew. (Image credit: BBC)

Lauren O’Rourke as Veena

Lauren is beautician and conspiracy theorist Veena. She played Nicole in The Inbetweeners Movie and has also had roles in Line of Duty, White Gold, Chemistry of Death, Drifters and Doctors. 

Guest star Danny Dyer

Former EastEnders star Danny Dyer turns up as a gust star in various episodes of Henpocalypse! playing himself as a spirit animal, who meets Jen (Kate O’Flynn), offering a spiritual redemption experience.

More about Henpocalypse! 

At a recent BBC Comedy showcase, BBC's Director of Comedy Commissioning, Jon Petrie addressed the issue of having a show such as Henpocalypse! set during a deadly pandemic. "This came to me when I started with the BBC, so kind of around 2021 during pandemic times. The team behind Henpocalypse! just felt like it was a good opportune moment to kind of see it all through a comic lens. I get sent a a lot of apocalypse stuff. Basically this is a funny The Last of Us but in the UK.

“It’s no surprise that Caz’s inventive scripts have attracted such a top cast. Her post-apocalyptic vision is both terrifying and utterly hilarious."

Henpocalypse! was commissioned for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer by Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy Commissioning at the BBC. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Tanya Qureshi. The Executive Producers are Phil Clarke (I May Destroy You), Helen Williams (Flack, Lazy Susan), Jack Bayles (Catastrophe) and Roberto Troni (I May Destroy You). VAL is part of BBC Studios portfolio of invested indie production companies with whom they hold a minority share. BBC Studios will distribute the show internationally.

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.