So you can imagine our excitement, then, when we learned that the actor has an unnerving new drama lined up for us in The Midwich Cuckoos.
An unnerving fable for our turbulent times, the series lays bare any parent’s worst fear: that the thing most precious to us – a child – might desire our destruction.
Read ahead for everything you need to know about the must-watch TV series.
What’s the plot of The Midwich Cuckoos?
Based on John Wyndham’s novel of the same name, this Sky Original is set in Midwich, a small English commuter town that is populated by wealthy liberals, picture-perfect nuclear families, and affluent high streets.
Essentially, then, it is the sort of sleepy suburban destination where nothing much happens. But then, on one seemingly normal balmy summer’s day, the town is plunged into a state of absolute panic as people begin passing out on their feet without warning.
When the mysterious blackout passes, “every woman of child-bearing age inside the zone has suddenly and inexplicably fallen pregnant,” the press release for the dystopian TV show explains.
“As news spreads and tensions simmer, it is up to gifted psychotherapist Dr Susannah Zellaby to help support those affected through the emotional wilderness. Susannah’s own daughter, Cassie, has fallen pregnant and harbours deep concerns about who, or what, is behind this phenomenon,” the press release reads.
“Local officer DCI Paul Haynes is tasked with maintaining order but unbeknownst to them all, a terrifying force is building in the comfortable streets of Midwich. These children – potential parasites – flourish under the very love and care that their families give them.
“Who are these children? And what do they want?”
Who stars in The Midwich Cuckoos?
The Bafta-nominated Hawes will lead the drama as Dr Susannah Zellaby, while Suits star Max Beesley is taking on the role of DCI Paul Haynes. Synnøve Karlsen will appear as Hawes’ onscreen daughter, Cassie.
The trio will be joined by a glittering all-star cast, including Cherrelle Skeete (Hanna), Samuel West (All Creatures Great And Small), Aisling Loftus (A Discovery Of Witches), Ukweli Roach (Blindspot), Lara Rossi (Robin Hood), Lewis Reeves (I May Destroy You), Rebekah Staton (Raised by Wolves) and Anneika Rose (Line Of Duty).
What are people saying about The Midwich Cuckoos?
David Farr, aka the writer and creator of The Midwich Cuckoos, says of the upcoming drama: “I first read The Midwich Cuckoos when I was 12. I was living in a small town in 1980s Britain. Everything about the book rang true to me and terrified me.
“An invasion of a small community by a hostile and ruthless force? Apparently innocent children as a force of huge malevolent power? It got under my skin.”
Farr adds: “As I’ve grown older, the story has never ceased to exert a grip. The idea that we may birth our own destruction is so simple and frightening. That as a mother or a father, the being we love most in the world may turn on us. It’s the stuff of nightmares.”
Hawes, meanwhile, has said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Sky and the brilliant Ruth Kenley-Letts on David Farr’s superb adaptation of The Midwich Cuckoos.
“I’m very much looking forward to working with the hugely talented Max Beesley and the amazing cast and I can’t wait to enter the strange and unsettling world of Midwich!”
Is there a trailer for The Midwich Cuckoos?
There most certainly is, and Stylist today has an exclusive look at Hawes in action as psychotherapist Dr Susannah Zellaby.
In the clip, we see the picture-perfect town of Midwich suddenly beset by seemingly supernatural goings-on, and creepy children who behave as if possessed.
“I can’t sleep,” a young girl tells Zellaby during a therapy session. When Zellaby asks her why, the girl replies that if she does, “bad things will happen.” Gulp.
We also see the women of child-bearing age in the town mysteriously fall the the ground during a blackout, and a hospital ward full of screaming patients giving birth at the same time.
“The way that I fell, right after,” one woman tells Zellaby, “I couldn’t put it into words. It feels like I was visited.”
We also see Zellaby at a town hall meeting, telling the crowd that “we are all in this together”.
In another scene, a group of school children gather on the green and creepily turn their heads in unison while the call of a cuckoo echoes in the background. The resounding message? These children can’t be trusted.
When will The Midwich Cuckoos be available to watch on TV?
The Midwich Cuckoos will be available on Sky Max and streaming service Now from 3 June 2022.
Images: Sky; Getty
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.