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The Midwich Cuckoos — release date, cast, interviews, plot, trailer, first looks, and all about the sci-fi series starring Keeley Hawes

The Midwich Cuckoos on Sky Max stars Keeley Hawes as as Dr Susannah Zellaby in the creepy sci-fi thriller..
The Midwich Cuckoos on Sky Max stars Keeley Hawes as as Dr Susannah Zellaby in the creepy sci-fi thriller.. (Image credit: Sky)

John Wyndham's creepy sci-fi novel The Midwich Cuckoos (opens in new tab)has been turned into an eight-part Sky series by British writer David Farr, who adapted The Night Manager on BBC1 and penned Amazon Prime Video’s Hanna. Look out for Keeley Hawes and Max Beesely among the cast.

There’s a twist in this adaptation however. The original 1957 bestseller, which tells the story of a small English village where the women become pregnant by parasitic aliens, is being updated to the present day and relocated to a London commuter town. 

So here’s everything we know so far about Sky's all-new version of The Midwich Cuckoos

Dr Susannah Zellarby (Keeley Hawes) investigates the alien phenomena.

Dr Susannah Zellaby (Keeley Hawes) investigates the alien phenomena. (Image credit: Sky)

The Midwich Cuckoos release date...

This eight-part adaptation of The Midwich Cuckoos will premiere on Sky Max (formerly Sky One) and NOW on Thursday June 2 2022 at 9pm, with all 8 episodes available as a box set. We'll also update with its US broadcaster and start date in due course.

Is there a trailer for The Midwich Cuckoos?

Yes! Sky has just released a trailer for The Midwich Cuckoos, and it's just as creepy as we expected as we watch Keeley Hawes as Dr Susannah Zellaby and Max Beesley as DCI Paul Kirby in action. Take a look below...

The Midwich Cuckoos plot 

This stylish modern version of The Midwich Cuckoos is set in Midwich, a sleepy commuter belt town outside London, rather than the rural village of the novel. One September evening everyone in one part of the town suddenly falls unconscious without warning and for 12 hours no phones work and nobody can get into the blackout zone. 

When everything returns to normal, it’s discovered that every woman of childbearing age has become pregnant. They later give birth to a group of chillingly unusual children (see picture below), known as ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’. Soon it's apparent these odd children have strange abilities. They end up dividing loyalties and threatening lives both within the town and beyond — and it needs a terrifying sacrifice in order to prevent them causing global catastrophe….

The strange children in The Midwich Cuckoos.

The strange children in The Midwich Cuckoos. (Image credit: Sky)

The Midwich Cuckoos cast — Keeley Hawes, Max Beesley and who else is starring

There's a great cast for The Midwich Cuckoos. Keeley Hawes (Bodyguard, Line Of Duty, It’s A Sin, The Durrells and Finding Alice) joins Max Beesley (The Outsider, Suits) who lead the line-up. Alongside them are Aisling Loftus (A Discovery of Witches), Ukweli Roach (Blindspot), Synnøve Karlsen (Last Night In Soho, Clique), Lara Rossi (Robin Hood), Lewis Reeves (I May Destroy You), Rebekah Staton (Raised by Wolves) and Anneika Rose (Line of Duty).

Keeley Hawes plays gifted psychotherapist Dr Susannah Zellaby who's drafted in help support those affected by the mysterious events at Midwich. Susannah’s daughter Cassie (Synnøve Karlsen), is also one of those who has become pregnant and has deep concerns about who, or what, is behind the phenomenon.

Keeley says: “I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Sky and the brilliant Ruth Kenley-Letts on David Farr’s superb adaptation of The Midwich Cuckoos. I’m very much looking forward to working with the hugely talented Max Beesley and the amazing cast and I can’t wait to enter the strange and unsettling world of Midwich!”

Max Beesley plays local police officer DCI Paul Kirby who tries to maintain law and order in Midwich unaware that a terrifying force is building in the comfortable streets. The strange children eventually born are potential parasites who flourish under the very love and care that their families give them. Who are these children? Where did they come from and what do they want?

For a full lowdown on The Midwich Cuckoos characters and the actors playing them do scroll down and look below...

The Midwich Cuckoos stars Keeley Hawes and Max Beesley.

The Midwich Cuckoos stars Keeley Hawes and Max Beesley. (Image credit: Sky)

The Midwich Cuckoos star Keeley Hawes in Finding Alice

Keeley Hawes (here in Finding Alice) plays Dr Susannah Zellaby in The Midwich Cuckoos. (Image credit: ITV)

More from Keeley Hawes on starring in The Midwich Cuckoos as Dr Susannah Zellaby

Keeley Hawes told us: "The Midwich Cuckoos is, rightly, lots of people's favourite book. I hadn't read it, which was actually a great way to come to this project. Because I read that script fresh and just thought, 'Oh my gosh, you know this, it's really horrifying!' Whether you're a mother or not, it's relatable to everybody this idea of having something inside you and not knowing what it is. It's pretty awful.

"Susannah and her daughter Cassie have an interesting relationship. Susannah is a child psychologist, so it's doubly difficult for her because she's really good at helping children. But unfortunately, she struggles to help her own. She also has very difficult struggles with with mental health issues and with addiction.

‘It’s one of the most complex dramas I’ve ever worked on in terms of the amount of children, make-up and effects. A great example is the children’s teeth. They are all wearing false teeth to give them a uniform look, which is quite unsettling. But taking all these kids to a specialist dentist was no small endeavour. 

"Viewers probably won’t notice, or not realise what they have noticed. It just feels like something’s not quite right, and you’re not sure what it is!?

Can Keely Hawes fathom the mystery behind The Midwich Cuckoos?

Can Dr Susannah Zellaby (Keeley Hawes) fathom the mystery behind The Midwich Cuckoos? (Image credit: Sky)

More from Max Beesley on starring in The Midwich Cuckoos as DCI Paul Haynes

Max Beesley told us: "The child actors are amazing. They all had chaperones on set and given the nature of the drama it was really important to make sure they were okay at all times. One day, I was working with this lovely lad and the script said I had to throw him into a wall. 

"I looked at the director and said, 'Come on, I’m not doing that! Can’t I just throw him on the bed or something?' It was all about making sure the kids were comfortable, so before every loud, physical scene we sat down and had a chat to make sure they were okay."

Wigs on kids in the Midwich Cuckoos!

Max Beesley says the child actors in the Midwich Cuckoos are amazing!  (Image credit: Sky)

Who's who — our lowdown on the main characters in The Midwich Cuckoos

Here are the main characters in this version The Midwich Cuckoos...

Dr Susannah Zellaby
Keeley Hawes
The family psychologist worries about how her daughter, Cassie, will react after becoming pregnant unexpectedly.

Cassie Stone
Synnove Karlsen
Susanna’s daughter is keen to keep the baby and hopes the child will give her a purpose in life.  

DCI Paul Haynes
Max Beesley
The local police officer works with government officials to coordinate a response to the unprecedented events.

Deborah Haynes
Jade Harrison
Paul’s wife is already pregnant when the phenomenon happens, but he’s unable to contact her at the family home… 

Zoe Moran
Aisling Loftus
After moving to Midwich, Zoe and her partner Sam are trying for a baby, and she’s overjoyed to discover she’s pregnant.

Sam Clyde
Ukweli Roach
The kind-hearted teacher finds his relationship with Zoe tested to the limit when she falls pregnant. 

Jodie Blake
Lara Rossi
Jodie arrives in Midwich to stay with her sister on the day of the phenomenon after splitting up with her boyfriend. 

Nora Randall
India Amarteifio
The teenager becomes pregnant after agreeing to go to a party with her friends on the evening of the blackout. 

Stewart McLean
Mark Dexter
The local politician is running for election in Midwich, but is secretly having an affair with a member of his campaign team. 

Sarah McLean
Amy Cudden
Stewart’s wife is away with her daughter – who’s one of Dr Zellaby’s clients – on the night of the blackout. 

Mark Dexter as local politician Stewart McClean rounded on by the strange kids In The Midwich Cuckoos

Mark Dexter as local politician Stewart McClean rounded on by the strange kids In The Midwich Cuckoos. (Image credit: Sky)

Behind The Scenes on The Midwich Cuckoos

It's been revealed that Alice Troughton who took the helm of Baghdad Central and A Discovery of Witches will direct the series, but so far there’s been no confirmation about who’ll be starring in The Midwich Cuckoos. Thanks to his role in the post-apocalyptic series The Walking Dead, British actor Andrew Lincoln could be in the frame, while Gangs of London Sope Dirisu and Bafta-winner Wunmi Mosaku were recently seen creeping us out in the Netflix thriller His House. But don’t rule out Hanna star Emma Creed-Miles or Teresa Palmer and Matthew Goode, who recently worked with Alice Troughton on A Discovery of Witches

A brief guide to The Midwich Cuckoos author John Wyndham…

'The Midwich Cuckoos' author John Wyndham

The Midwich Cuckoos author John Wyndham. (Image credit: Getty)

British science fiction novelist John Wyndham wrote his most iconic work The Day of The Triffids (opens in new tab) in 1951 after spending World War Two as a firewatcher during the Blitz, a censor in the Ministry of Information and a member of the Home Guard. The story sees most of the world blinded by gazing at a meteor shower which then allows poisonous giant plants, the Triffids, to take over the planet. 

There was a 1963 film adaptation of The Day of Triffids starring Howard Keel (of Dallas fame), Nicole Maurey and Janette Scott, plus there’s a 1981 version by the BBC starring John Duttine. Then, in 2009, the BBC made yet another version of The Day of The Triffids starring Dougray Scott, Jason Priestley, Eddie Izzard and Joely Richardson.

John Wyndham is also known for his novels The Chrysalids (opens in new tab), set in a post-nuclear dystopia, and The Kraken Wakes (opens in new tab) about a mysterious flood and attacks on shipping by creatures from the deep. His novel Chocky (opens in new tab), which tells the story of an alien consciousness that communicates with the mind of a 12-year-old boy was written Wyndham wrote a year before his death in 1969. There was a TV adaptation of Chocky too, shown on ITV in 1984, and starring James Hazeldine and Carol Drinkwater.

The BBC's 1981 adaptation of 'The Day Of The Triffids' starring John Duttine.

The BBC's 1981 adaptation of The Day Of The Triffids starring John Duttine. (Image credit: BBC)

Village Of The Damned — the two famous movie adaptations of The Midwich Cuckoos

The Midwich Cuckoos was the inspiration for two movies, both titled Village Of The Damned. The eerie 1960 black and white version, directed by Wolf Rilla, starred George Sanders, Barbara Shelley and Laurence Naismith, with cinema-goers queuing round the block to see it. Then in 1995 the film (see our main picture) was given a Hollywood horror makeover by Halloween director John Carpenter and was set in North Carolina rather than England. It starred Superman actor Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley and Mark Hamill and featured a legion of alien children with glowing orange eyes and otherworldly powers. 

The 1960 British movie Village Of The Damned.

The 1960 British movie 'Village Of The Damned'. (Image credit: Alamy)

'The Midwich Cuckoos' was made into this 1995 movie Village Of the Damned

'The Midwich Cuckoos' was made into this 1995 movie Village Of the Damned. (Image credit: Alamy)

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Nicholas Cannon
Nicholas Cannon

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.