Michael Gambon, Rory Kinnear And Others Join J.K. Rowling's Casual Vacancy Miniseries

Following news last Spring that HBO and BBC were teaming up to bring J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy story to the small screen with a miniseries adaptation comes some exciting casting news for the project, which includes word that Albus Dumbledore himself -- Michael Gambon -- will be among the cast. Also among the stars of the miniseries are Rory Kinnear, Monica Dolan, Julia McKenzie and Keeley Forsyth.

We learned back in April that The Casual Vacancy would be coming to HBO and BBC as a miniseries. Based on a novel (opens in new tab) published in 2012, the story centers on the small town of Pagford where one of the councilmen dies unexpectedly, leading to an election to replace him, which disrupts the peace in the little community.

Variety reported a slew of casting today, including word that Michael Gambon, known for playing Albus Dumbledore in all but the first two Harry Potter films, will play the role of Howard Mollison, owner of the Pagford delicatessen. In addition to the Harry Potter films, Gambon's credits include Sleepy Hollow (the 1999 feature film), Mary Reilly, The Omen (2006), and more recently, HBO's Luck. So he's no stranger to the Home Box Office. Julia McKenzie (Notes on a Scandal), will play Gambon's character's wife, Shirley. Rufus Jones is playing their son Miles, while Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes) is set to play Miles' wife Samantha.


Next up, there's Rory Kinnear (pictured above), who is on board to play Barry Fairbrother. Variety doesn't elaborate on this role, but in the book, Barry Fairweather is the ill-fated councilman. It's possible there was a name change for the miniseries? Or maybe there are two guys named Barry Fair-something in this story. Kinnear's credits include the role of Bill Tanner in Quantun of Solace and lately you can see him as The Creature on Showtime's Penny Dreadful.

Keeley Forsyth (Coronation Street) will play Terri Weedon, while Abigail Lawrie is set to play her daughter Krystal Weedon.


Simon McBurney (pictured above) of Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy and The Last King of Scotland, will play Colin Wall, husband to Tess Wall, who's being played by Monica Dolan (Alan Partridge). Richard Glover is playing Simon Price, while Marie Critchley, whom you may recognize as Sue Walker from the excellent post-zombie-apocalyptic drama In the Flesh, is playing Simon's wife Ruth. The cast also includes Michelle Austin (playing Kay Bawden).

Variety says there's more casting to come, which shouldn't be a surprise. As mentioned, the story centers on a small town, so there's likely to be a pretty hefty ensemble. Among the characters yet to be cast are Parminder, Vikram and Sukhvinder Jawanda, Gaia Bawden, Mary Fairbrother and others. We might expect to hear news of additional casting for The Casual Vacancy soon enough, as the three-part miniseries is slated to start production in England in July.

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.