Ridley ITV: cast, plot and number of episodes of Adrian Dunbar’s new drama series

The Ridley ITV series is set to bring complex characters and mysteries to life and stars Line of Duty icon Adrian Dunbar in the titular role...

Ridley ITV series starring Adrian Dunbar
(Image credit: ITV)

The new Ridley ITV series promises seriously suspenseful scenes, brilliant cast performances from the likes of Adrian Dunbar and Bronagh Waugh and plenty of dark twists. 

Mystery fans have been spoiled for choice so far in 2022 with plenty of dramas making their way onto our screens, from Channel 5’s Witness Number 3 to Holding on ITV. Now Line of Duty fans will soon be about to enjoy watching one of the hit BBC drama’s main stars back in action in the new Ridley ITV series. Adrian Dunbar plays retired DI Alex Ridley alongside Bronagh Waugh's DI Carol Farman as the retired copper is asked to lend a hand and put his expertize to good use as a consultant on a tricky case. 

But what is Ridley about, who’s in the cast and how can you watch the new ITV series? We reveal what you need to know about the new Adrian Dunbar show…

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

What is Ridley about? 

Unlike the Shetland season 7 cast who play serving police officers in dogged pursuit of the truth, in ITV’s new drama series, Adrian Dunbar’s character, Alex Ridley is retired. The ex-detective was gently nudged out of the job that meant so much to him and he continues to grieve the loss of his beloved wife and daughter. 

But whilst his traumatic past might haunt the ex-Detective Inspector, it certainly makes for a compelling starting point for the new show. As thriller fans will all know there’s nothing like a chilling mystery to get any police officer’s instinct for crime-solving going and Alex Ridley is soon tempted back into the investigative world. 

Bronagh Waugh and Adrian Dunbar in Ridley

(Image credit: ITV)

Having been a DI for so long it’s unsurprising that Alex also passed on some of his skills and experience to the next generation and Ridley sees his former protégée and newly-promoted replacement, DI Carol Farman, seek him out. Brought back on board as a police consultant on a complex murder case, Alex is soon thrown in at the deep end as their investigation takes an intense and surprising turn. 

Whilst Ridley is a fictional mystery drama, it's said to have been partly inspired by real-life retired detectives re-joining police forces in consultancy roles in light of resources being over-stretched. The new series was filmed in Lancashire and other parts of Northern England and this is something lead star Adrian Dunbar believes has helped to make Ridley so distinct from other brilliant shows in this enduringly popular genre.

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Opening up to RadioTimes.com (opens in new tab) and other press ahead of the Ridley ITV premiere, lead star Adrian Dunbar got candid about why he feels the drama is stand out.

“We’ve got a wonderful writer in Paul Matthew Thompson, who writes for [fellow ITV crime drama] Vera. I think this show’s slightly darker than some of the other things that are out there, I think it is a bit grittier,” Adrian declared. “I think being set in the north of England helps in that respect."

So it seems that just like where Shetland was filmed and the importance of the BBC’s Sherwood setting, the choice of atmospheric locations for Ridley helps to create a unique feel to the series. Alongside this, the combination of Alex Ridley’s experience and his long standing mentoring relationship with Carol Farman, suggests that Ridley will be a truly multi-layered and twisty series.

Who is in the Ridley ITV cast? 

Ridley ITV regular cast list:

  • Adrian Dunbar as ex-DI Alex Ridley
  • Bronagh Waugh as DI Carol Farman
  • Terence Maynard as DCI Paul Goodwin
  • George Bukhari as DC Darren Lakhan
  • Georgie Glen as Dr Wendy Newstone
  • Bhavna Limbachia as Geri Farman
  • Aidan McArdle as Michael Flannery
  • Julie Graham as Annie Marling

Perhaps the most instantly-recognizable and key member of the Ridley ITV show cast is none other than the actor who delivered some of Line of Duty’s best Ted Hasting sayings so dramatically, Adrian Dunbar. Perhaps best known now for his role as Superintendent Hastings in the hit BBC show, Adrian stars as Alex Ridley. In the ITV series he’s lost his wife and daughter in tragic circumstances and is persuaded to help DI Carol Farman out on a particularly challenging case. 

Adrian Dunbar attends the press night performance of "Hamlet"

(Image credit: Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

However, whilst he might be playing the titular character, according to the lead Ridley cast member Alex Ridley is someone viewers might not “immediately warm to”. Speaking to RadioTimes.com (opens in new tab) and other press about his character, Adrian suggested that it will take time across the series to get to know Alex properly. 

"Ridley finds himself isolated and alone after the death of his wife but of course isolation is not really good for anybody's head and something happens at the start of episode 1 that brings him back into the world of work,” he explained. 

Adrian Dunbar arrives at the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2021

(Image credit: Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Adrian added, "What's interesting, I think, is that through the series he does find a lot of empathy for other people who are, like himself, in some kind of grief. So he's a complicated character, you don't immediately warm to him. I think it's going to take a little bit of time for us to sort of understand where he's coming from."

He is joined in the Ridley cast by someone else who’s no stranger to thrillers and mystery dramas - Bronagh Waugh. Playing Carol, the actor has also appeared in The Fall alongside Jamie Dornan, as well as being part of ITV’s Our House cast as Alison.

Discussing the new show and her role as Carol within it, Bronagh told Times Radio (opens in new tab)’s Mariella Frostrup that she’d deliberately tried to make the DI distinct as a female detective character.

Bronagh Waugh attends the launch party for the inaugural Issue of "Drugstore Culture"

(Image credit: Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Drugstore Culture )

“I really wanted to try and set Carol aside and apart from those other characters but also to allow her, you know, to go toe-to-toe with some of the big male characters,” Bronagh shared. 

The star reflected that Carol has a wife and son at home, but that she’s “so ambitious and such a workaholic” that she can often “neglect” that in favor of her work. 

Bronagh continued, “I worked a lot on creating Carol and trying to give her her own kind of huge background that will, hopefully, make her stick with people and stick in the British public’s mind”.

Ridley ITV cast

(Image credit: ITV)

Alongside Adrian and Bronagh are Sherwood actor Terence Maynard as DCI Paul Goodwin, Years and Years star George Bukhari as DC Darren Lakhan and Call the Midwife’s Georgie Glen as pathologist Dr Wendy Newstone. They are also joined by Citizen Khan star Bhavna Limbachia as Geri Farman, The Fall’s Aidan McArdle as Michael Flannery and Shetland’s Julie Graham as Annie Marling.

How many episodes of Ridley are there? 

The new Ridley series consists of four episodes and there’s great news for mystery fans as whilst many shows like The Control Room and Shetland season 7 have episodes that are an hour long, Ridley’s four episodes are set to be two hours long. This means there’s even more time to get to know the characters and be truly immersed in each episode’s dramatic plotline throughout the series.

How to watch Ridley 

For anyone excited to see Adrian Dunbar, Bronagh Waugh and their fellow cast members in action in Ridley then the place to head is ITV. The series’ premiere date is Sunday August 28th at 8pm on ITV and the subsequent spellbinding episodes will also be airing in this scheduling slot and will be available to catch up on via the ITV Hub afterwards. 

Ridley ITV series starring Adrian Dunbar

(Image credit: ITV)

Sadly, for anyone eager not to miss out on all the tense moments, if you're abroad on vacation when Ridley airs then you won't be able to watch the show as you normally would at home, thanks to regional restrictions. 

Luckily there’s an easy solution and you can use a VPN to continue watching this hit drama. This is a handy bit of software that changes your IP address so that you can access on-demand content or live TV just as if you were at home.

Our sister site, TechRadar, has tested all of the major VPN services and they rate ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) as the absolute best. They say, “It’s compatible with all of your devices, supports most streaming services, and ranks among the fastest. You can even install it on devices like an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation. So for a one-stop-shop, you can’t go wrong with Express.”

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Ranked among one of the fastest VPN providers, this risk-free service is also compatible with all of your devices. Enjoy access to almost any streaming service, and if you don't like it there's a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If you've never installed a VPN before, don't worry, it's quick and easy. Just follow these three steps:


  1. Download and install the VPN following ExpressVPN's easy-to-follow instructions.
  2. Once you've installed your VPN, open the app and select your server location as anywhere in the UK.
  3. With your VPN installed and server location set to UK, you can now watch Ridley online. 

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(Image credit: Future)

Packed full of brilliant performances and suspenseful storytelling, the new Ridley ITV series is set to be an unmissable watch for anyone who can't get enough of mystery dramas...

Ridley starts on August 28th at 8pm on ITV and will be available on the ITV Hub.

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.