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Truelove: cast, plot and all about the new drama starring Julie Walters

Truelove on Channel 4 stars Julie Walters as a senior police officer Phil.
Truelove on Channel 4 stars Julie Walters as a senior police officer Phil. (Image credit: Getty Images)

With Julie Walters as its lead, Truelove on Channel 4 asks whether you’d help a friend to end their misery. Jam-packed with other stars too, including Sue Johnston, Phil Davis and Clarke Peters, the six-part series is made by Clerkenwell Films, the team behind comedy-drama hit The End of the F***ing World.

Truelove follows a group of old friends reunited at a funeral. Julie Walters plays Phil, an ex-senior police chief enjoying her somewhat boring retirement, who comes face to face with old flame Ken (Clarke Peters). And it’s not long before the pair realise they never quite got over one another. After a few drinks, the chat gets deep and they make a pact, along with the rest of the gang, to help one another have dignified deaths when the time comes. But the time comes sooner than they think...

Talking about Truelove, Julie Walters says: “I had basically withdrawn from acting and wasn’t sure that anything could tempt me back but then I read Truelove. I was completely bowled over by the writing — the dark humor, the love story and thriller element set against a backdrop of what happens to us all as we approach our later years. I adore the character of Phil — smart, funny and hard-edged. How often does one have the chance at my tender age to play a leading lady in a TV drama?”

Here's all you need to know about Truelove on Channel 4...

Truelove release date 

Truelove is six-episode drama that will premiere on Channel Four. There’s no release date yet but watch this space and we’ll update you when it’s announced. 

Truelove plot 

In Truelove, Julie Walters plays Phil, an ex-senior police chief who is in the midst of her retirement. At a friend’s funeral she bumps into her teenage sweetheart Ken (played by Clarke Peters) who is now an ex-special forces veteran and divorcee. The pair never really got over their feelings for one another and both feel a little at sea in their retirement. 

At the funeral, the drinks flow and soon the pair and their friends start talking about their own deaths. And they make a drunken pact that if any of them are suffering a slow and terrible decline, they will step in to help them have a dignified death. But what starts out as a fanciful idea soon becomes a shocking reality. And they are all left wondering if it’s ever right to end a life? Can these pensioners take back control of their lives during their twilight years? 

“If your friend reached a soul-destroying level of decrepitude, could you help them transition, if asked?” says Clarke Peters. “Would it be right, would it be noble, could you do it? Which of that internal triumvirate do you listen to — your head, heart or soul? You know it is illegal in law and scripture to take a life, but could you do it? These scripts explore that moral dilemma in a way I’ve never seen before. It’s funny, it’s dark and it’s full of twists and turns. And DAMN! To tell this story, with this cast, was something I would have dreaded missing out on… Roll on “action”!”

Truelove cast — Julie Walters as Phil

Dame Julie Walters who plays Phil in Truelove is British screen royalty and shot to fame in the film Educating Rita in 1983. She then starred in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ and was a regular on Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV, having starred with Victoria in their earlier TV comedy Wood & Walters

Julie played Petula in the series Dinnerladies and Mrs Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. She’s also been in Calendar Girls, Mamma Mia, Paddington, National Treasure and The Secret Garden, as well as a number of top TV dramas, playing everyone from Mary Whitehouse to Mo Mowlam

Julie Walters as Rita.

Julie Walters in Educating Rita in 1983. (Image credit: Rank Film Distributors)

Julie Walters and Victoria Wood at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards in March 2013.

Julie Walters, with her longtime comedy partner, the late Victoria Wood. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Clarke Peters as Ken

In Truelove, Clarke Peters plays Phil's ex flame Ken. Clarke is best known for his role as Detective Lester Freamon in the hit series The Wire. He’s also starred in Life on Mars, Marley & Me, Doctor Who, Holby City and Damages. He played Nelson Mandela in the TV movie Mandela: The Prison Years and starred as Sonny in The Tunnel. He was also in the huge movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Clarke plays Josiah in The Man Who Fell to Earth

Clarke Peters stars in Truelove.

Clarke Peters stars as Ken in Truelove. (Image credit: Getty)

Who else is starring in Truelove?

Truelove also features The Royle Family, Brookside and Time star Sue Johnston, alongside Phil Davis (Whitechapel, Poldark), Peter Egan (Unforgotten, After Life), Karl Johnson (Mum), Fiona Button (The Split) and Kiran Sonia Sawar (Murdered by My Father).   

Sue Johnson is one of Phil's pals in Truelove.

Sue Johnson is one of Phil's pals in Truelove. (Image credit: Getty )

Phil Davis is among the big stars in Truelove.

Phil Davis is among the big stars in Truelove. (Image credit: Getty)

Truelove locations

Truelove was filming scenes in Burnham on Sea in Somerset with scenes taking place on boats involving Julie Walters and Clarke Peters. Filming also took place on the beach next to Burnham Sailing Club and the pontoons.

Is there a trailer for Truelove?

No, not yet but we can’t wait to see Educating Rita and Harry Potter star Julie Walters back on our screens. When Channel 4 do release a trailer we’ll post it on this page. 

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.