Sacha Dhawan Lands Lead Role in Crime Drama 'Virdee'

Sacha Dhawan as The Master ready to watch the world burn in Doctor Who

Sacha Dhawan as The Master in Doctor Who


Sacha Dhawan recently hinted that The Master isn’t done with The Doctor in Doctor Who, and though he’s not going to be around for the 60th anniversary, fans shouldn’t count the character out. However, the chances of Dhawan returning to the series have become rather slim as the actor has picked up a new lead role in the past few weeks. At the end of August 2023, at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, announced the network was commissioning a brand new detective series, Virdee, based on the best-selling series of crime novels by A.A. Dhand, with Dhawan as the titular detective. 

With four published novels in the gritty, urban, contemporary vein, the series is set in Bradford, following the adventures of Detective Inspector Harry Virdee, a British English Sikh investigator, who is faced with cases steeped in race, violence, and exploitation. Starting with Streets of Darkness (2016), these books have been called written versions of Luther and The Wire, so it was only a matter of time before the small screen came calling. The other books in the series so far include Girl Zero (2017), City of Sinners (2018), and One Way Out (2020).

“Virdee is a powerful and gripping detective story, but at its heart are two people in love and their struggle to be accepted as a couple,” said Salt in the announcement. “With Sacha in the lead role of Harry and Bradford providing the perfect backdrop, I can’t wait for viewers to be captivated by this series." Dhand added, “Like me, DCI Harry Virdee is a proud Brit who dreams big, and whilst he is passionate about his heritage, it is not something which solely defines him. He refuses to be shackled by the past and believes in merging worlds, cultures, and identities, no matter the cost. Hey, aim big or go home – this is Yorkshire.”

Here's the series synopsis:

The series introduces Detective Harry Virdee, a Bradford cop disowned by his Sikh family for marrying Saima, who is Muslim. Harry struggles with the abandonment, constantly attempting to reunite with his family. With his personal life in chaos, he must hunt down a killer targeting the Asian community. When the murderer kidnaps a local MP’s daughter in Bradford and holds the entire city to ransom, Harry realizes that he is going to need the help of his brother-in-law Riaz, a drugs kingpin who runs the largest cartel in the county. Pulled together in an alliance that could ruin them both, Harry must make a choice: save himself and his family or save his city. He will not be able to do both.

Dhand is adapting his own work for screen, with a six-episode order for the show's first season, which is assumed to be based on Streets of Darkness. Dhand is also listed as an executive producer, alongside Paul Trijbits and Jo McClellan for the BBC, and produced by Stella NwimoGareth Coulam Evans, Callum Dodgson, Sylvie Richards, and Karl Hall are co-producers. Virdee is a Magical Society production in association with Screen Yorkshire for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Cineflix Rights is the exclusive worldwide distribution partner.

Further cast beyond Dhawan will be announced in due course, as will where the show will land on American TV. Filming is expected to start before the end of 2023, with a premiere date for Virdee expected to be set for the 2024-2025 television season.


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. 

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