Roadkill Characters Guide
Politicians, journalists, barristers are just some of the colorful characters seen in Roadkill. Explore our handy character guide to who’s who in the series, how the stars would describe the characters and more.
Played By: Hugh Laurie
Meet the Character: Peter Laurence is a conservative British MP who recently won a court case against a newspaper for libel – but his troubles are far from over. His ambitions are high, and his luck, so far, has been good, but will it last? Will his past catch up with him? Who is Peter Laurence really?
“He begins the story at mid-cabinet level as Transport Secretary and has ambitions to move up the greasy pole,” Laurie explained. “The story is in some regards about the price he is prepared to pay to get to the top position and the price that he forces everyone else to pay, principally his family but also those who pledge their loyalty to him. He is a man who is relatively free of the gravity of guilt and whose life mission is to keep moving forward and not to look back. It sounds as if the story is entirely about me – it isn’t – there are three or four different stories interlocking in different places with different hopes or dreams being realized or dashed.”
Played By: Helen McCrory
Meet the Character: Dawn Ellison is the capable, no-nonsense Prime Minister in the world of Roadkill. She fights to stay in the know when it comes to Peter Laurence, and tries to stay one step ahead – but it isn’t exactly an easy job. “Dawn’s problem with Peter is that she doesn’t recognize him, and because she doesn’t recognize him, she doesn’t realize how dangerous he is,” McCrory said of her character’s relationship with Peter. “I think she realizes that he is popular and that he is highly ambitious, as she is, and he is without scruples, as she is. But what she doesn’t realize is how many supporters he has.”
Playing the Prime Minister: Nonetheless, Helen McCrory certainly had some fun playing the Prime Minister. “I’ve been to Downing Street and I’ve met various Prime Ministers, but what is interesting is whatever your personal politics, they all have quite extraordinary, powerful presences in a room,” she said. “Even if you didn’t vote for them, when a prime minister walks in the room you can feel it – you know why they’re Prime Minister. When Obama walked into a room for example you know why he was president, for example; these people have power. I don’t know how much power Dawn has, but I had a lot of fun throwing my toys around in the pram because that’s more where I think Dawn is – I don’t think she is a huge threat to politics.”
Played By: Iain De Caestecker
Meet the Character: Duncan Knock is the advisor to Peter Laurence and his dedicated right-hand man. Duncan, perhaps, is one of the few to understand how Peter truly works — and how to help him get ahead. Duncan also has an interesting relationship with Dawn’s assistant Julia, who, like Duncan, is privy to nearly everything going on with everyone in town.
“A big part of his identity now is merged with Peter, as he’s his political adviser,” De Caestecker explained. “While their relationship is predominantly professional, it’s still a very close relationship. Duncan is ambitious and he’s married to his job; it definitely occupies a lot of space in his mind, so I think a huge part of his identity is what he does.”
But Duncan’s own dreams certainly don’t stop at serving Peter Laurence. “He sees Peter as his ticket to the top as well,” he said. “As much as I think he admires Peter in a big way and looks up to him, he’s got his eyes on his own prize as well. …Duncan is young and sees himself as a bit arrogant, he’s very smart and intelligent but he feels there’s a bit of invincibility to him and thinks he can’t be touched.”
Played By: Pippa Bennett-Warner
Meet the Character: Rochelle Madeley is an incredibly driven, whip-smart lawyer who we first meet after she’s won Peter Laurence’s court case against a newspaper. But as the series goes on, she can’t seem to shake the case and anything to do with Peter, with more information being brought to light that she simply can’t ignore.
“Rochelle is a high-flying Barrister,” Bennett-Warner said. “At the beginning we meet her doing what regularly she does which is win cases. She is very competent and very good at her job.”
Working for Peter Laurence did not necessarily equate to her liking him, however. “She feels that Peter is just another minister,” she continued. “She’s used to dealing with these kinds of people and this kind of behavior. Her views on him politically might not be aligned, but she doesn’t get emotionally attached to anything so she’s very much just doing her job. She is probably used to defending people who she thinks are guilty and she sees it as a bit of a challenge because she likes to win. It’s all about winning for Rochelle. She goes on a journey with Peter, which I quite like. …She is very concerned about being the best, but she also wants to do the right thing.”
Played By: Olivia Vinall
Meet the Character: Julia Blythe, the right-hand woman to Prime Minister Dawn Ellison. It’s Julia’s job to know everything about everyone, and it’s a job that Julia does quite well.
“It was very exciting to explore the mind of someone so young who has obtained such an important high-powered position in Downing Street, with razor sharp intellect and judgement but who can’t afford to miss a beat,” Vinall said of her character.
Played By: Sarah Greene
Meet the Character: Charmian Pepper is a newspaper reporter at the center of the Peter Laurence court case, who, despite a court loss and the loss of her job, still can’t let the story go. Her pursuit of the truth behind Peter Laurence drives her every move, and she won’t stop until she gets the answers she’s looking for — no matter the cost.
Played By: Pip Torrens (Poldark, Grantchester)
Meet the Character: Joe Lapidus is the newspaper editor above Charmian Pepper. His frustrations about the court case and Charmian’s dogged pursuit are outweighed by the nagging feeling that she may be onto something, and despite push back from higher powers at the paper, he can’t seem to forget the Peter Laurence issue, either. He toes a dangerous line between duty and truth.
Played By: Saskia Reeves (Wolf Hall, Inspector Lynley)
Meet the Character: Helen Laurence is the wife of Peter Laurence. An accomplished and well-respected musician in her own right, Helen and her children stay out of the limelight with Peter as much as they can. Still, she stays by his side, for better or for worse. They may seem like a put together family from the outside, but nothing is ever as perfect as it seems…
Played By: Millie Brady (Mr. Selfridge)
Meet the Character: Lily Laurence is one of Peter Laurence’s daughters. She may not love to admit her parentage, but the world won’t let her forget it — anonymity isn’t possible. When she finds herself the center of some negative news attention (again), she finds her way reluctantly back home to her parents, and tries her best to help her family figure their issues out, no matter how futile her efforts may seem.
Played By: Shalom Brune-Franklin
Meet the Character: Rose is a mysterious, incarcerated character who, early on, contacts Peter Laurence with some shocking news — she claims to be his daughter. As Peter tries to suss out the legitimacy of her claim, he’s also trying to figure out what game she might be playing, just as she is trying to figure out the truth of him. The two may not be so different, after all.