‘Formidable’ TV star returns to British screens for first UK role in more than a decade

‘Formidable’ TV star returns to British screens for first UK role in more than a decade

Andrew Lincoln has announced he will return to British screens for the first time in 14 years.

The Walking Dead protagonist, 50, will executive produce and star in a new six-part ITV thriller titled Cold Water, penned by Cyprus Avenue playwright David Ireland.

The forthcoming series sees Lincoln play a middle-aged man called John who secretly hates his life as a stay-at-home dad. Also set to star are Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting), Indira Varma (Obsession), and Eve Myles (Keeping Faith).

After a violent altercation in a playground in London, John moves his family from the city to a rural Scottish village. Upon arrival, he quickly befriends his next-door neighbour – and husband to the local vicar – Tommy (Bremner).

John, however, soon suspects Tommy is harbouring horrifying secrets when a series of unsettling incidents begins to unfold.

The new ITV thriller marks Lincoln’s return to British screens for the first time since 2010, when he starred in the Sky series Strike Back opposite Richard Armitage. That same year, Lincoln took on the lead role of Rick Grimes in the longstanding AMC franchise The Walking Dead, which has kept him occupied since.

Lincoln began his acting career on British television with roles in the BBC drama This Life and  the Channel 4 sitcom Teachers, before starring as Mark in Richard Curtis’ Christmas rom-com Love Actually in 2003.

2024 Winter TCA -
2024 Winter TCA - "The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live" (Invision)

Of the actor’s return to British screens, the show’s writer Ireland said: “Cold Water started with a question I was asking myself. Where do I want to live – the countryside or the city? Such an innocent beginning, but from it came this dark, funny, twisted thriller. And I’m amazed we’ve managed to attract such a peerless cast, led by the formidable Andrew Lincoln.”

Polly Hill, ITV’s head of drama, added: “David’s scripts are wonderful and original and have attracted an incredible cast led by Andrew Lincoln. It promises to be a really unmissable drama.”

A release date for Cold Water is yet to be announced, with filming due to begin later this year.

Lincoln as Mark in ‘Love Actually' (Shutterstock)
Lincoln as Mark in ‘Love Actually' (Shutterstock)

News of the forthcoming series follows after Richard Curtis recently expressed regret over Lincoln’s Love Actually scene in which his character Mark use cue-cards to declare his unrequited love for Keira Knightley’s Juliet, the new wife of his best friend Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

The sequence – which featured cards reading: “To me, you are perfect, and my wasted heart will love you” – has been widely mocked and parodied countless times over the years. The scene has also been criticised by some viewers for romanticising stalking.

In an annotated script that emerged as part of a charity auction, Curtis hinted at doubts over the controversial moment, writing: “I came up with four things Mark could do as his big gesture. The people in the office chose their favourite and I went for it. I wonder: do we all regret the choice now?”