BritBox Releases First Look at Dark Comedy Thriller 'Passenger'

Wunmi Mosaku as Former Met Police Detective Riya Ajunwa searches through the snowy woods in 'Passenger'

Wunmi Mosaku as Former Met Police Detective Riya Ajunwa in 'Passenger'

BritBox/ITVX

BritBox has confirmed that the new ITV series, Passenger, will stream on its service here in the U.S. come 2024. Despite the name, the series should not be confused with the other U.K. TV series Passengers (plural), which ran on Channel 4 in the 1990s and then was revived for a time in the early aughts. That was a reality series exploring youth culture and famous for introducing the world to Ewan McGregor pre-Trainspotting. This is a brand new drama series, billed as a "dark comedy thriller" about a small community that insists on ignoring the strange occurrences among its residents.

The series was first announced as a joint production between BritBox International and ITV in March 2022, when ITV revealed it had picked up the debut script from actor-turned-screenwriter Andrew Buchan. Buchan is best known in the U.S. for his turn in Broadchurch, and Passengers' synopsis has a few shades of that hit series, though, at the time, it was billed more as a horror series than a comedy. It was the second series ITV picked up that year from actors turning to screenwriting, with Suranne Jones' debut project, the family drama Maryland, announced only a few months before. (Maryland recently aired on ITVX in May 2023.)

Production on the series began in February 2023, with casting announced just as filming commenced in Cornholme, North of ManchesterWunmi Mosaku (Luther) was announced as the series lead, retired detective Riya Ajunwa, a significant get as she was coming off the one-two punch of starring in the critically acclaimed Lovecraft Country and Disney+ hit series Loki, one of the only Marvel series to earn a second season. Her co-stars were revealed to be David Threlfall (Dodger) as suspect Jim Bracknell and Rowan Robinson (So Awkward) as victim Katie Wells. Check out the first looks at both characters below.

Rowan Robinson as Katie Wells just before she disappears in 'Passenger'

Rowan Robinson as Katie Wells in 'Passenger'

BritBox/ITVX

Here's the series synopsis:

Passenger explores a close-knit community who are unwilling to face their fears of change, of outsiders and of the unknown. Set in the fictional small Northern town of Chadder Vale, Former Met Police Detective Riya Ajunwa investigates a series of strange and inexplicable crimes that have the townsfolk spinning on an axis. Riya arrived in decaying Chadder Vale five years ago and has since been searching for that ‘one big crime,’ the challenge that will make her feel alive again. Then one night, local girl Katie Wells mysteriously disappears. The town barely has time to register her absence before she reappears the next day, apparently safe and sound.

The townsfolk ask few questions, and normal life resumes. But for Riya, a relative outsider to the Chadder Vale way of life, none of this sits right. As a series of strange happenings and increasingly shocking crimes start unfolding within the town, the residents resort to short-sighted theories and blame outside influences such as the fracking site and its manager Jim Bracknell. As things become stranger, so the people push back on Riya’s absurd notion that something is not right with this town. But what are they so afraid of? 

David Threlfall as Jim Bracknell lost in a fog in 'Passenger'

David Threlfall as Jim Bracknell in 'Passenger'

BritBox/ITVX

Mosaku, Threlfall, and Robinson will co-star with Jo Hartley (After Life) as Chief Constable Linda Markel, Sean Gilder (The Gold) as Tony Corrigan, and Debbie Rush (Brassic) as forensic analyst Terry Jackson. The ensemble cast also includes Daniel Ryan (The Bay), Barry Sloane (Litvinenko), Natalie Gavin (Gentleman Jack), Nico Mirallegro (We Hunt Together), Hubert Hanowicz (This Is Going To Hurt), Jack James Ryan (Vera), Shervin Alenabi (Gangs of London), Ella Bruccoleri (Call The Midwife), Arian Nik (Van der Valk), and Matilda Freeman (Alma’s Not Normal).

Buchan penned all six episodes of Passenger with directors Lee Haven-Jones (The Long Call) and Nicole Charles (The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies) splitting helming duties. Buchan is also an associate producer via Northern Sister, part of Sister group, with executive producers Lucy Dyke and Simon Maloney for Northern Sister, Jane Featherstone for SISTER, and Reemah Sakaan and Stephen Nye for BritBox International.

Passenger is scheduled to debut in 2024, first on ITVX and then to follow on BritBox in the U.S.


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Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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