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Sherwood — release date, cast, plot and everything you need to know

TV tonight David Morrissey and Terence Maynard are among the starry cast.
Sherwood features an all-star cast to tell the troubling story. (Image credit: BBC)

Sherwood is a BBC One drama boasting an all-star cast including David Morrissey, Lesley Manville and Downton Abbey favorite Joanne Froggatt that's now airing on BBC One.

Award-winning writer James Graham (Finding Neverland, Ink) has penned the compelling six-part series, which is inspired partly by real events and set in the Nottinghamshire mining village where he grew up. 

Sherwood focuses on powerful social and political themes that resonate throughout modern British society as two appalling and unexpected murders cause a huge impact on an already broken community, leading to a huge manhunt. 

As suspicion and tension rise amongst the community, the devastating deaths and the arrival of the Met Police threaten to open a historic wound that was caused during the miners’ strike in the 1980s which heavily scarred the community.

Setting up the series, star Lesley Manville says: "Well, it's from the brilliant James Graham. It's semi-autobiographical in that he grew up in the area where it's set. It deals with the Nottinghamshire miners who were in the 1984 strike. They were the ones who broke the picket line and went back to work, whereas the Yorkshire miners were the ones who, as a majority, stayed out on strike. 

"So, in Sherwood, there's a clash in this community and it's never left them. It’s festered and become a very dark, underlying heartbeat to the story.

David Morrissey adds: "I had the first three episodes, which were sent to me, and then a sort of story outline for the next three and I loved it. I love the idea of it being this ensemble piece about a community. I thought it was subtly written, a story about a historical event which I knew a lot about. I'd lived through that time and it was about the repercussions of that time in Nottingham. I was very excited about it and I had quite a bit of time before they started so I was able to do quite a bit of research as well."

Here's everything you need to know about Sherwood...

Julie Jackson (Lesley Manville) being dragged away from the crime scene by police officers.

Horrifying murders rock the already fragile community. (Image credit: BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire)

Sherwood: next episode date

The six-part series premiered on Monday, June 13 at 9 pm on BBC One. The third episode will air on Monday, June 20 at 9 pm, with the fourth airing at the same time on Tuesday, June 21.

Sherwood will also be available to watch on BBC iPlayer. There's no news yet on a US release date.

What is Sherwood about? 

This gripping crime drama explores the controversial deployment of "spycops" in Britain, a form of undercover policing to seek information that has caused a big scandal across the country. It also tells the raw and gritty reality of a marginalised community forced to re-examine the awful events that occurred years before. 

The BBC says: "Inspired in part by real events, and set in the Nottinghamshire mining village where Graham grew up, Sherwood is a contemporary drama at the heart of which lie two shocking and unexpected killings that shatter an already fractured community and spark a massive manhunt. 

"As suspicion and antipathy build, between lifelong neighbours and towards the police forces who descend on the town, the tragic killings threaten to inflame historic divisions sparked during the Miners' Strike three decades before."

As Sherwood explores and exposes some of the most urgent fractures and conflicts that stream through modern British society, we’ll also see old police rivals Detective Chief Superintendent Ian St Clair, played by David Morrissey (The Walking Dead, The Missing) and DI Kevin Salisbury, portrayed by Robert Glenister (Law & Order UK, Hustle) forced to reunite and bury tensions between themselves to solve the murders.

Sherwood: Ian St.Clair (DAVID MORRISSEY), Kevin Salisbury (ROBERT GLENISTER)

Detective Chief Superintendent Ian St Clair and DI Kevin Salisbury must bury the hatchet to help solve the case. (Image credit: BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire)

What happened in episode one?

*spoilers ahead*

The first episode introduced us to the ongoing tension in the village between the families on both sides of the picket lines, whilst other residents are trying to carry on with their lives.

After popping out for a couple of pints, local resident Gary Jackson is followed home by a hooded figure who calls out to him before shooting him with a crossbow. The investigation then swiftly got underway after a resident finds Gary's body lying in the street the following morning.

During the investigation, DCI Ian St Clair finds Gary Jackson's police record has been redacted and reaches out to Kevin Salisbury, the officer who intervened and got the charges for suspected arson against Gary dropped back in 1984. DI Salisbury says he'd prefer to answer Ian's queries in writing but is later told to head to Nottingham and cooperate with the case in person by his superior.

What happened in episode two?

Andy Fisher (Adeel Akhtar) checks his train in Sherwood

Andy found himself under arrow fire in episode two. (Image credit: BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire)

Whilst driving his normal route to Nottingham, Andy's train is fired upon by an arrow. He's not harmed in the attack, but Ian and the rest of the team (along with Kevin Salisbury) head straight to the scene of the crime. 

The Sparrow family is worried that the police will find evidence of their other criminal activity whilst they investigate who's used their archery range. Meanwhile, Fred and Cathy grow increasingly worried that Scott could somehow be implicated in the crime as he's a skilled archer and hunter, especially as Fred had neglected to mention Scott owned archery equipment to the police.

Evidence mounts up against the Sparrows, leading the police to bring them into custody. Following their arrest, the killer attempts another attack on Gary Jackson's solicitor, Mr Chakrabarti. After Gary's dog is found, Kevin suggests they swab the dog's mouth for DNA evidence in case it bit Gary's attacker. Kevin's suggestion comes up good; the dog's mouth contains traces of Scott Rowley's DNA.

A warrant has already been issued for Scott's arrest as he missed his sentencing hearing for benefit fraud. The police raid the Rowley household, and Fred and Cathy are questioned about Scott and any possible motivation he could have had for the killing. Ian and the team then search Fred's garage and find Scott had been using it as his headquarters. He'd also been withdrawing his savings and carrying out computer hacking attacks, looking for info on Gary and his associates.

Kevin and Ian visit Mr Chakrabarti and discuss his wrongful arrest claim and the rumor that an undercover "spy cop" had moved to the community in the 80s and had singled him out as a person of interest to the police, but had taken up permanent residence under their fictional persona instead of leaving.

Elsewhere, tensions between Andy and his son's wife, Sarah have been brewing. At the end of the episode, Andy hit his breaking point and lashed out at Sarah during a row when she spoke ill of his late wife.

What happened in episode three?

Following the shocking season 2 finale, Andy is reeling from accidentally killing Sarah with a shovel after she made a comment about his late wife. Since then, Andy had since been calling in sick and avoiding people by staying at home. Neel returned and discovered her body in horror, not yet realising that his own father was behind her death. Andy is now riddled with guilt - but how long can his secret stay hidden?

Meanwhile, St Clair phoned Neel to say there'd been “a development”, causing Andy to flee into a field, which is definitely making him look like the guilty party.

Scott Rowley is still on the run, and Cathy made a televised plea begging him to turn himself in while the manhunt continued. But Scott isn't listening and is carrying on his rampage, shooting a peacock on the front lawn of a stately home before breaking into the house of his murder victim Gary to leave a disturbing message.

Sherwood cast

Joanne Froggatt as Sarah Vincent

Joanne Froggatt in Sherwood. (Image credit: BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire)

An all-star ensemble is set to bring Sherwood's intriguing characters to life, including:

  • David Morrissey as Detective Chief Superintendent Ian St Clair — a formidable and empathetic detective in the Nottinghamshire constabulary who has risen through the ranks. When he's tasked with finding the link between the two killings, he's forced to reunite with old rival DI Kevin Salisbury from the Metropolitan Police, whose return is already causing tension.
  • Robert Glenister as Detective Inspector Kevin Salisbury — he has little desire to return to Ashfield as the events of 1984 haunt him. He's not likely to receive the warmest welcome from the local police nor the community, but he's determined to follow his orders with honor and integrity.
  • Alun Armstrong as Gary Jackson — Gary is a committed NUM member and one of the few miners from Ashfield on the picket line in the 80s. Decades later, he doesn't let anyone forget it, which causes friction with his neighbors.
  • Lesley Manville (who has been confirmed to play the role of Princess Margaret in The Crown Season 5) as Gary's wife, Julie Jackson — estranged from her sister, Cathy over their differing opinions of the miners' strike, she is as stubborn as her husband. However, she's still majorly proud of her household.
  • Claire Rushbrook as Cathy Rowley — she's always lived in her sister's shadow and the miners' strike tore them apart when Cathy fell in love with quiet and reserved UDM working miner Fred Rowley (Kevin Doyle). She has a strained relationship with her deeply private stepson Scott (Adam Hugill). When tragedy comes close to home, she's forced to deal with the woman she's become and confront hidden dark secrets.
  • Joanne Froggatt as Sarah Vincent — "Sarah is campaigning to be the local councilor so she's very politically aware. Her political views differ from the bulk of her community because she is campaigning as a Conservative in a predominantly working-class area, a hard Labour constituency," explains Joanne.
  • Philip Jackson as Mickey Sparrow — entrepreneur Mickey is proud of his portfolio, which includes an axe throwing range and taxi firm. As the town suspects, most of his income is made illegally. However, Mickey's business empire comes under threat when the residents are suspicious that the Sparrow family could be responsible.
  • Lorraine Ashbourne as Daphne Sparrow — Daphne is the fearless matriarch of the Sparrow clan, who will go to extreme lengths to protect her family. But, when everything and everyone she loves comes into danger, it's soon revealed what desperate measures she will go for them, including her son, Rory (Perry Fitzpatrick).
  • Adeel Akhtar as Andy Fisher — Andy is a widow who lost his wife years ago. A fragile and shy man, he has struggled to come to terms with her death ever since. He relies on his son, Neel (Bally Gill) for emotional support, but Andy is worried that he's losing him to his son's fiancée Sarah (Joanne Froggatt), who feels uncomfortable in Andy's company.
  • Stephen Tompkinson as NUM member Warnock — his return also reopens old wounds and new suspicions regarding the events from 1984 arise when he hints that the police placed spies in Ashfield during the strike.

Ian St Clair (DAVID MORRISSEY), Julie Jackson (LESLEY MANVILLE), Kevin Salisbury (ROBERT GLENISTER)

Ian St Clair (David Morrissey), Julie Jackson (Leslie Manville) and Kevin Salisbury (Robert Glenister) must try to come together and solve the chilling murders (Image credit: BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire)

Is there a trailer?

The BBC has released a gripping trailer for this thrilling crime drama, which you can watch below...

Grace Morris
Grace Morris

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides for must-watch shows and the latest TV news. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.


You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series and much-loved soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.