‘Rebel Moon’s Staz Nair Replaces Sacha Dhawan In BBC Crime Thriller ‘Virdee’

‘Rebel Moon’s Staz Nair Replaces Sacha Dhawan In BBC Crime Thriller ‘Virdee’

EXCLUSIVE: Rebel Moon star Staz Nair is replacing Sacha Dhawan as lead of upcoming Bradford-set BBC crime thriller Virdee.

Doctor Who star Dhawan has dropped out due to scheduling issues, Deadline is told, and will be replaced in the Harry Virdee role by the actor who has also appeared in Game of Thrones and Supergirl.

The adaptation of AA Dhand‘s thriller, which Dhand is penning, has unveiled full cast including Aysha Kala (Criminal Record, Indian Summers) as Saima Virdee, Harry’s wife, Nina Singh (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry) as Tara Virdee, Harry’s niece and a keen crime reporter, with Vikash Bhai (Crossfire, Limbo) playing Harry’s brother-in-law Riaz Hyatt. Kulvinder Ghir (Foundation, Blinded By The Light) and Sudha Bhuchar (Expats, Rules of the Game) will play Harry Virdee’s parents, Ranjit and Jyoti. Other cast include Elizabeth Berrington (Good Omens), Danyal Ismail (All the Lights Still Burning) and Tomi May (Line of Duty).

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Hans Zimmer has been confirmed as composer of the theme music.

Revealed at the Edinburgh TV Festival alongside Sally Wainwright and Nicôle Lecky shows, Virdee follows the eponymous detective disowned by his Sikh family for marrying Saima, who is Muslim. Harry struggles with the abandonment and now with his young son, Aaron, growing up and asking questions, thinks it might be time to attempt to reunite with his family. His personal life in chaos, he must now hunt down a serial killer targeting the Asian community.

“It’s an absolute honour to be taking on this vibrant and complex story about assimilating culture and what we’re willing to do to protect who and what we love,” said Nair. “This show leads with vulnerability more than any detective drama I’ve ever seen, and it’s a privilege to be bringing AA Dhand’s hope for his city to life.”

Dhawan added: “I have stepped down from Virdee due to scheduling but would like to wish everyone the best of luck with the series.”

Nair played the nobleman Tarak in Zack Snyder’s hit Netflix space opera Rebel Moon last year and had a recurring role as Qhono in Game of Thrones Seasons 6 to 8. He played William Dey in The CW’s Supergirl and also featured in the pilot episode of critically-rated Channel 4 comedy We Are Lady Parts.

The series is being produced by Magical Society’s new UK arm, which is overseen by Saving Mr Banks producer Paul Trijbits. It is adapted for the screen by Dhand and directed by Mark Tonderai (Doctor WhoFoundation). The series is executive produced by Trijbits for Magical Society, Dhand, and Jo McClellan for the BBC. Cineflix Rights is the exclusive worldwide distribution partner outside of the UK. 

Multi-award-winner Zimmer (Interstellar, The Dark Knight) will compose the Virdee title theme with James Everingham and Shashwat Sachdev from Bleeding Fingers. They will also work on the series score with trainees from Bleeding Fingers and Screen Academy Bradford, to give the trainees hands-on experience of composing for the screen.