Why did Morven Christie leave The Bay and which series 1 and 2 cast members are returning for series 3?

Many viewers will be wondering why did Morven Christie leave The Bay as they prepare for the return of the hit police drama…

Why did Morven Christie leave The Bay? Pictured here as DS Lisa Armstrong
(Image credit: ITV)

Why did Morven Christie leave The Bay has been the question on fans’ minds ever since it was announced that she wouldn’t be back for series 3, but there are plenty of series 1 and 2 cast members returning in the dark drama. 

Following determined Family Liaison Officer DS Lisa Armstrong, played by Morven Christie, as she balances her family commitments with her emotionally demanding work life, The Bay is a coastal-set drama sure to keep you gripped. Set in the coastal town of Morecambe in Lancashire, don’t let the picturesque seascape fool you as mysteries soon emerge from the most unlikely of places. Thriller fans hoping for a The Tourist season 2 or who can’t help wondering where Stay Close was filmed will find plenty of details to transfix them as The Bay returns for what promises to be a spellbinding series 3. 

Though there’s one person who won’t be back to tell the new story—main cast member Morven Christie herself. The sad news was revealed last year with her replacement in the show ready to make their debut.  But why did Morven Christie leave The Bay and which cast members will be returning?

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

The Bay starring Morven Christie for series 1 and 2

(Image credit: ITV)

Why did Morven Christie leave The Bay?

The question why did Morven Christie leave The Bay might spring to mind for many viewers as they prepare for The Bay series 3 to land, as Morven’s exit as DS Lisa Armstrong wasn’t written into the series 2 finale. Series 2 ended with the case finally solved and Lisa’s children being abandoned once again by their father who chose to leave Morecambe rather than do as Lisa suggested and explain to them about how he remarried and had another child after leaving them the first time. 

The Bay starring Morven Christie for series 1 and 2

(Image credit: ITV)

It was later announced that Morven wouldn’t be returning to the show, despite The Bay series 3 already having been commissioned. According to Hello! Magazine, the producers' statement released at the time simply praised her wonderful “contribution” to the show over the first two series as they reiterated how The Bay would continue to have the same feel for series 3. 

It’s said to have declared, “The show’s producers thank Morven for her brilliant contribution to The Bay and wish her every success for the future. While the DNA of the show remains the same, the change of lead offers up the exciting opportunity to place a new character at the centre of the drama and explore the world of Morecambe from a fresh perspective." 

Meanwhile, the publication reports that Catherine Oldfield, Executive Producer of The Bay also suggested that it was Morven’s decision to leave. 

The Bay starring Morven Christie for series 1 and 2

(Image credit: ITV)

She shared, “Daragh (the show’s co-creator and writer Daragh Carville) and I always felt that there were so many brilliant stories to be told in the world of The Bay so, after Morven decided to leave the show, we got straight to work finding a new lead actor."

Morven Christie hasn’t publicly opened up about her exact reasons for leaving The Bay, it could be that she felt the time was right for her after her series 1 and 2 co-star Taheen Modak also left. Taheen played DS Ahmed ‘Med’ Kharim alongside Morven from the very beginning of The Bay and was tragically killed in series 2, leaving her character Lisa devastated. 

The star took to social media last year to express her delight at getting to work with co-star Taheen during her time on the show, beginning her caption with, “Day one til the end”. 

She continued, “So honoured to have spent my 2 seasons on The Bay with this guy, from fresh out of college to smashing it like an old pro. My partner, my pal, this big souled lil king. They should never have let you go, but that’s for another day. Now you get to go build your kingdom -and I’m right behind you pal. We did it. ❤️ 🦅@taheenmodak”. 

Their on-screen bond appears to have turned into a lovely friendship off screen between Morven and Taheen and the Scottish actor might potentially have thought that it felt right for the two to leave at the same time. Whatever the precise reason for Morven Christie leaving The Bay, both she and Taheen Modak will be dearly missed. 

Which series 1 and 2 The Bay cast members are returning for series 3?

Now they have hints that could answer the ultimate question - why did Morven Christie leave The Bay, long-time fans will no doubt be preparing themselves for a somewhat bittersweet The Bay series 3 premiere on January 12. Not only will Morven not be returning to the show as the tenacious DS Lisa Armstrong for the new series, but neither will her series 1 and 2 co-star Taheen Modak as Med following his devastating on-screen death last series. 

The Bay cast members

(Image credit: ITV)

However, whilst viewers will miss the friendship and investigative prowess of this dynamic duo, there are plenty of series 1 and 2 The Bay cast members who are set to return for series 3. This includes many of Med and Lisa’s colleagues in the Morecambe police force, such as Daniel Ryan (Home Fires, Innocent) as DI Tony Manning and Erin Shanagher (Peaky Blinders) as DS Karen Hobson.

Andrew Dowbiggin (Cobra) will also return as DS James Clarke and Thomas Law (EastEnders) will be back as Eddie Martin. And though Morven won’t be joining them, the series 1 and series 2 The Bay cast members will soon gain another main cast member. DS Jenn Townsend will take Lisa’s place as primary character and new Family Liaison Officer, played by the brilliant Marsha Thomason (White Collar, Lost).

The Bay cast including Daniel Ryan

(Image credit: ITV)

Jenn will have to contend not only with the pressures of her new job but with her family’s move to the area as her personal and work life balance becomes difficult. Speaking about her excitement at the prospect of joining the returning series 1 and 2 cast members, Marsha also reflected on what it was like stepping into Morven Christie’s shoes in The Bay.

As reported by Digital Spy, when asked if she had any nerves about the idea, she said, “I didn't, initially, no. I didn't feel any of that actually, but then as my first day approached, really my feelings were more about the nerves of being in a new job in an established show, you know that kind of thing.”

The Bay new cast member Marsha Thomason

(Image credit: ITV)

Marsha continued, “I was definitely aware that those are big shoes to fill, [Morven] was so great as Lisa. I was a bit like Jenn really, because it's like: 'New day, new job with these people who've all been working together for ages', but everybody was brilliant. The cast reached out to me and we started a WhatsApp group, we did some Zooms, so I already felt a sense of connection with them when I arrived on the first day."

Despite many viewers no doubt being very sad to bid farewell to Morven Christie after the first two series, we can’t wait to see what Marsha as Jenn Townsend brings to The Bay series 3. 

How to watch The Bay series 3 

If the introduction of a brand new character and the return of The Bay series 1 and 2 cast members has got you eager for the latest series to finally land then you don’t have long to wait. The Bay series 3 will premiere on ITV at 9pm on Wednesday, January 12th, almost a year after the previous series’ emotional conclusion. And if you’re not going to be around to watch each of series 3’s six episodes live across the coming weeks, then never fear!

As fans of fellow ITV dramas The Long Call and Manhunt The Night Stalker will already know, the ITV Hub is the place to go if you’re looking to catch up on past episodes. Simply head to the ITV Hub after The Bay series 3 episodes air to watch them there and anyone who’s yet to catch up on the first two series can enjoy Morven Christie in action as Lisa on there too.

The Bay starring Marsha Thomason

(Image credit: ITV)

But if you’re abroad when The Bay airs then sadly you won't be able to watch the show as you normally would at home, thanks to regional restrictions. However, luckily there’s an easy solution and you can use a VPN to continue watching this hit drama. This is a really 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 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 The Bay online. 

VPN disclaimer

(Image credit: Future)

With what promises to be a series filled with yet more gripping storylines, emotional moments and even more The Bay cast members to root for, there's never been a better time to transport yourself to Morecambe this winter as series 3 lands.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with seven 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.