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Passenger: All you need to know about ITV drama from star-studded cast to plot details, and release schedule

BAFTA-winner Wunmi Mosaku stars alongside David Threlfall and Jo Hartley

WUNMI MOSAKU as DC Riya Ajunwa in Passenger
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
Updated: 25 March 2024
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ITV's latest offering comes in the form of brand new thriller Passenger, which follows Detective Inspector Riya Ajunwa, who after a string of boring, low-level cases is faced with her biggest investigation yet when local girl Katie Wells mysteriously disappears. What follows is a series of "strange and unnatural crimes" that sends the close-knit Northern village of Chadder Vale spinning on its axis. 

The six-part series marks the screenwriting debut of actor Andrew Buchan, who's known for his roles in Broadchurch, The Crown, and This England. 

WATCH: Will you be watching ITV's new thriller, Passenger?

Andrew's upbringing in Bolton inspired him to write the series. "There's a rich vein of humour running through a lot of northern towns and having grown up in and amongst that and the way that people react specifically to extremes with humour has always interested and fascinated me," he said ahead of the premiere. "I thought if I could write something about a small, tight-knit community and kind of use some kind of extreme event to detonate that humour, then that might be interesting."

Keep reading for all you need to know about the drama, including the plot, star-studded cast and release date schedule.

WUNMI MOSAKU as DC Riya Ajunwa in Passenger
© Sister Pictures for ITV AND ITVX
Wunmi Mosaku stars as DC Riya Ajunwa in Passenger

What is Passenger about? 

Set in the close-knit community of Chadder Vale, "where nothing seems to perforate the mundane", the series follows former Met Police Detective Riya Ajunwa, who has been searching for her "one big crime" five years after moving to the village. 

"Then one night local girl, Katie Wells is mysteriously abducted. Her car is found abandoned and there are traces of blood on the seats. But the village barely has time to register Katie’s disappearance before she reappears the next day, safe and sound," teases the synopsis. 

DAVID THRELFALL as Jim Bracknell in Passenger

© Matt Squire
David Threlfall plays the mysterious Jim Bracknell

"The rest of the villagers ask few questions and life resumes as normal. 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 horrific crimes start unfolding within the village, the residents start resorting to short-sighted theories and blaming outside influences. Riya fights hard to convince the villagers that all is not as it seems. And before long she is drawn into a universe unlike anything she has ever seen."

NICO MIRALLEGRO as Ken Jackson in Passenger
© Matt Squire
Nico Mirallegro as Ken Jackson

Who stars in Passenger? Meet the star-studded cast

Passenger features a cast of familiar faces, led by BAFTA-winning actress Wunmi Mosaku as Detective Riya. She's joined by Shameless star David Threlfall as the mysterious Jim Bracknell, who lives on a fracking site.

Meanwhile, After Life's Jo Hartley plays Chief Constable Linda Markel and The Bay's Arian Nik portrays Nish Chowdry.

Rowan Robinson as Katie Wells© Matt Squire
Rowan Robinson as Katie Wells

Also starring in the series are Call the Midwife's Ella Bruccoleri, The Bay's Daniel Ryan, Coronation Street actor Jack James Ryan and Hollyoaks' Nico Mirallegro.

Rowan Robinson, Barry Sloane, Natalie Gavin, Sean Gilder, Debbie Rush, Matilda Freeman, Hubert Hanowicz, and Shervin Alenabi round out the cast. 

ELLA BROCCOLERI as Ali Day in Passenger© Sister Pictures for ITV AND ITVX
The series begins on Sunday

Passenger release date and episode schedule 

The series begins on Sunday 24 March at 9pm on ITV1 and ITVX. The second episode will arrive on Monday 25, with the remaining four instalments airing in the same Sunday/Monday slots over the following two weeks. 

Filming locations

Passenger was shot across the North West of England, with the cast and crew spotted on the streets of Cornholme in West Yorkshire. The picturesque village, just a short drive from Todmorden, serves as the fictional 'Chadder Vale' where the series is set. 

And, as it turns out, Locations Manager Danny Newton happened on the idyllic filming location by happenstance. "We looked at lots of different villages because it was described in the script as having these looming hills, to give that feeling of isolation to the characters that live there," he told Manchester Evening News

Wunmi Mosaku as DC Riya Ajunwa© ITV
Passenger was filmed across the North West of England

"We searched high and low driving around for weeks looking at different places. One day I was driving between two villages and I just said: 'I'm going to have to stop the car'.

"I saw all these cobbled streets and looming hills, it was just past Todmorden on the border of Lancashire, with all these lovely cobbled streets, it's beautiful in its own right with all these beautiful old terraces," recalled Danny. "Cornholme is one of those places that feels undiscovered - even some people in the local council didn't even know about it." 

Yorkshire Live reports that filming also took place in various towns, including Oldham and Bolton.

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