The Pact: Meet the cast of the BBC crime mystery thriller

Laura Fraser and Julie Hesmondhalgh lead cast of The Pact, a new BBC crime thriller about four women bound together - and torn apart - by a dark secret.

By Alex Fletcher Updated: 18 May 2021 - 9.32pm

If you’re still looking for a TV fix to replace Line of Duty, you won’t go far wrong with BBC One’s The Pact – a dark, character-driven thriller.

The death of young brewery boss Jack (Aneurin Barnard) sparks a chain of events that brings together four of his female employees, who find themselves bound together by a secret and a fragile pact of silence.

Imagine Big Little Lies, but with the brooding atmospherics of Wales rather than the sunshine of California.

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The six-episode series, which airs on Monday and Tuesday nights from May 17, features an all-star cast with lots of faces you’ll recognise.

Here’s a quick guide to the cast and characters:

Laura Fraser – Anna

Laura Fraser playing Anna in The Pact BBC

“Anna and her friends from the brewery play a drunken prank on their much-hated boss after a work party,” said Fraser.

“This snap decision has horrifying consequences - one moment of poor judgement threatens to ruin the lives of Anna and everyone around her and then facing the aftermath of her drunken behaviour puts her under this extreme pressure as she’s presented with this massive moral dilemma.

“I play Anna who is about to turn 40. She’s re-evaluating her life, she feels like she’s achieved nothing - she had her kids young and she’s only now getting the confidence to go for a promotion at the brewery where she works with her friends Nancy, Lou and Cat.”

Where have you seen Laura Fraser before?

Breaking Bad, Traces, The Loch, The Missing

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Julie Hesmondhalgh – Nancy

Julie Hesmondhalgh as Nancy in The Pact BBC

“It's a thriller, first and foremost. A twisty-turny thriller that keeps you guessing to the very end. But it's also a story about friendship, family, marriage, love and betrayal,” said Hesmondhalgh.

“I'm a complete Welshophile. I got married in Wales and holiday here every year. My husband is a graduate of Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama too, so having the opportunity to work here was a massive bonus for me. And I loved that it was a woman-led drama, with four complex and flawed women at its heart.”

Where have you seen Julie Hesmondhalgh before?

Coronation Street, Broadchurch, The A Word

Eiry Thomas – Louie

Eiry Thomas as Louie in The Pact BBC

“I love that it’s just a group of ordinary women who are in an extraordinary situation. I think that is something we can all relate to,” said Thomas.

“I think you can go, ‘these women are not majorly special, they’ve got quite ordinary lives like all of us’. But something happens to them that throws all the cards in the air and the cards are landing in places they weren’t expecting. They’re not incredibly well dressed or super rich or anything. They’re just straight up, ordinary girls who find themselves in a bit of a pickle.”

Where have you seen Eiry Thomas before?

Keeping Faith, The Accident, Rillington Place

Heledd Gwynn – Cat

Heledd Gwynn as Cat in The Pact BBC

“The Pact is about a group of friends who work in a brewery and attend a party which goes completely and unexpectedly wrong,” said Gwynn. 

“It’s about normal people dealing with a really abnormal situation, following an unexpected death.

“Cat is one of the workers in Evans Brewery and that’s how she knows Anna, Louie, Nancy and Tish. She is pretty no nonsense. She comes across quite blunt and quite tough. She’s worked at the brewery for about three years, so is relatively new, but she still becomes involved.”

Where have you seen Heledd Gwynn before?

Ordinary Lies

Abbie Hern – Tish

Abbie Hern as Tish in The Pact BBC

“The Pact is about a group of women who are all very different, in very different places in their lives,” said Hern.

“But they are put in a very similar situation, and they have to figure out how they deal with it. Everything is put into question; their family, their friendships, their morals and how each person deals with the situation that arises.

“Tish is a brewery worker at Evans Brewery. She’s relatively new compared to the other girls so I think she’s still trying to find her way in the workplace and in life.

Where have you seen Abbie Hern before?

The Twilight Zone

Eddie Marsan – Arwel

Eddie Marsan as Arwell in The Pact BBC

“When I read it, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened. It made me feel very much like an audience member when I was reading it - it really gripped me that much,” said Marsan.

“Also, I’ve never done a Welsh character before and I’ve just coming back from working in America for eight years so coming back and doing something completely different is what I like to do. I like to have new challenges all the time.

“I’ve spent eight years [in Ray Donovan] playing a boxing trainer from Boston with stage four Parkinson’s so to play the wealthy owner of a brewery in Wales – someone with a traumatic past – it was a completely different character and somebody I’ve never played before and I thought ‘this is something I’d like to do.’”

Where have you seen Eddie Marsan before?

Happy-Go-Lucky, The World’s End, Ray Donovan

Jason Hughes – Max

Jason Hughes as Max in The Pact BBC

“Max is married to Anna. He’s a good guy; a very solid, grounded guy. He’s one of those guys that has a natural zest for life. He’s very passionate about his family and puts that above everything else,” said Hughes.

“He cares a lot about the wellbeing of his wife and his kids. Then before he knows it, he’s been put on the case and is completely involved in finding out what happened.

He’s written as a good guy but you wonder what makes him a good guy. When you look at all the other characters, they’re all flawed in some ways and there’s something that they are hiding.

“Max doesn’t have a known flaw and he isn’t hiding anything. So the challenge is how to make that person interesting and how that transfers into a multidimensional character.”

Where have you seen Jason Hughes before?

This Life, Midsomer Murders, Marcella

Rakie Ayola – DS Holland

Rakie Ayola as DS Holland in The Pact BBC

“She’s a brilliant and quirky detective. Pete McTighe has allowed us to see these little human touches from her every now and again,” said Ayola.

“I’ve got the sense that she’s someone you wouldn’t expect to be a high-ranking police officer. She’s incredibly empathetic. She is good at detecting and putting two and two together. She probably wasn’t a brilliant ‘bobby on the beat’; she would have done what she needed to do but that’s not where her strengths are. Her strengths are in detecting… understanding the kind of person that would commit a crime and why they would do it, then looking into that.”

Where have you seen Rakie Ayola before?

Grace, Noughts + Crosses, Shetland

Aneurin Barnard – Jack

Aneurin Barnard as Jack in The Pact BBC

“Jack is a very complex character, who could just be seen as a one-dimensional antagonist in the drama,” said Barnard.

“But for me to approach playing him, I had to find the vulnerability and fragility within this young, damaged man, hidden deep beneath the pretence of a strong tough bloke with a cocky, selfish, ‘I’m bigger and better than you’ attitude. It was important for me to find what makes an unpleasant character like Jack tick.

"Asking the questions of why is he that way, or what made him this way? Does he care at all for anyone, or even himself? What makes him feel better or worse? What is he hiding? For me the key to playing Jack was dancing with his vulnerability. Seeing where we could show and hide that within the drama.”

Where have you seen Aneurin Barnard before?

Cilla, The White Queen, Dunkirk, The Goldfinch

Gabrielle Creevy – Tamsin 

Gabrielle Creevy as Tamsin in The Pact BBC

“I mainly worked with Aled ap Steffan, Laura Fraser and Jason Hughes and I had a ball getting to know them,” said Creevy.

“I already knew Aled as I worked with him on In My Skin. There were many highlights with these guys including some lovely family scenes. I find it so fascinating to watch other actors work as you get to see different processes and you learn so much. Each job is a learning curve and this has been a big one.”

Where have you seen Gabrielle Creevy before?

In My Skin, 15 Days

Aled ap Steffan – Ryan

Aled Ap Steffan as Ryan in The Pact BBC

“Playing Ryan has been an absolute delight,” said ap Steffan.

“He loves his family and is proud of who he is. Playing somebody who is comfortable with who they are is such a joy and I enjoyed every second of it. I’d love to do it all over again.

“I hadn’t read any of the episodes before getting offered the part. The sides I did for my audition were so well written and I was dying to get to know Ryan on a deeper level. Also, the fact that Pete McTighe had written it and it was for the BBC gave me the instant yes.”

Where have you seen Aled ap Steffan before?

In My Skin, Gangs of London

The ensemble cast also includes

Richard - Played by Adrian Edmondson

Gareth - Played by Richard Elis

Mandy - Played by Sophie Melville

Gwen - Played by Gillian Elisa

Mark -Played by Jason May

DC Griffiths - Played by Ben McGregor

DC Anford - Played by Alexandria Riley


Watch The Pact on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9pm on BBC One and on BBC iPlayer