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The Winter Child — cast, plot and all about the twisty new thriller

Shirley Henderson takes the lead role in The Winter Child in Channel 5.
Shirley Henderson takes the lead role in The Winter Child in Channel 5. (Image credit: Aamy)

The Winter Child on Channel 5 will show how good intentions can quickly lead to obsession. Starring Harry Potter star Shirley Henderson and Line of Duty’s Craig Parkinson, and written by White House Farm creator Giula Sandler, the series follows a lonely single mother who hears about a missing girl in the community and signs up to help find her. But her concern soon spirals into an unhealthy obsession. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Channel 5's exciting psychological thriller The Winter Child

The Winter Child release date 

The Winter Child is a four-parter coming to Channel 5 and My5 in 2022. 

As yet we don’t know if US viewers will be able to watch the show but if it’s picked up by an international screening service we’ll let you know. 

The Winter Child plot 

The Winter Child follows Claudia, a lonely single mother and school nurse. When she hears about a local girl, Emily Winter, who has gone missing she seizes her opportunity to become a hero and make some friends. Soon Claudia becomes embroiled in the case and grows fixated on uncovering the truth. But not only is she determined to find out what happened to Emily, but she is also becoming obsessed with the Winter family at the center of the case — Emily’s devastated father Owen, her cold mother Sabine, and her 12-year-old brother, Dean. 

The Winter Child cast — Shirley Henderson as Claudia

Taking the lead role of Claudia in The Winter Child, Shirley Henderson is perhaps best known for her role as Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter movies. She played villain Frances Drummond in the hit series Happy Valley and Siobhan in the 2020 drama The Nest. Shirley has an impressive film career, starring in movies such as Trainspotting, Bridget Jones’s Diary, 24 Hour Party People and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, in which she voiced Babu Frik. She has also appeared in Worzel Gummidge, Jamaica Inn, Hamish Macbeth and The ABC murders

Villains... Shirley Henderson and James Norton in Happy Valley.

Villains... Shirley Henderson and James Norton in Happy Valley. (Image credit: BBC)

Craig Parkinson as George

Craig Parkinson plays affable English tutor George in The Winter Child. The actor had us all gripped watching him play DI Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan in the hit police series Line of Duty. He also played The Grand Serpent in Doctor Who as well as starring in Sandylands, Intergalactic. Life and Death in The Warehouse and The English Game. Craig has also had roles in Outlaws, Whitechapel and Misfits as well as voicing the character of Sergeant Sainfoin in the 2018 animation Watership Down

Craig Parkinson is George in The Winter Child.

Craig Parkinson is George in The Winter Child. (Image credit: Getty)

Craig as DI Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan in Line Of Duty.

Craig as DI Matthew ‘Dot’ Cottan in Line Of Duty. (Image credit: BBC)

Who else is starring in The Winter Child? 

There's a large ensemble cast in The Winter Child. Emily’s heartbroken parents, Owen and Sabine, are played by Ian-Lloyd Anderson (Game of Thrones, Derek) and Lisa Dwyer Hogg (Silent Witness). 

Sara Powell (Doctor Who, Ghosts) plays their neighbor Joanne alongside Ronan Leahy (Batman Begins) as her husband Dave. Luke Griffin (1983) plays Leon, Claudia’s estranged husband, while newcomers Myah Mason and Calum Jess play siblings Emily and Dean Winter. Caleb Wilson plays Claudia’s son Rhys while Eddie Brett, Francesca Europa, Niamh McCann and Danielle Ryan round up the cast. 

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.