Call the Midwife star Jessica Raine leads the cast of ITV’s new drama Jericho, set in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1870s.
Created and written by Steve Thompson (Sherlock, Doctor Who), the eight-part series focuses upon the shanty town of Jericho, home to a community that will live, thrive and die in the shadow of the viaduct they’ve been brought together to build.
Rough, rustic and remote with a carnival atmosphere, Jericho is a community of pioneers, settlers and outcasts, people with secrets to hide and those looking to start again.
Thursday 7 January 2016, 9pm
Yorkshire, 1874. Annie Quaintain (Jessica Raine) is turfed out of home when her schoolmaster husband’s death leaves her widowed and penniless. Shunned by society, and with no family to turn to, Annie is desperate for a place for her and her children, Martha (Amy James-Kelly) and George (Sam Bottomley), to stay. When she hears of jobs going in Culverdale Valley, where an enormous viaduct is being built, Annie, Martha and George have no choice but to set off for the promise of a new life in the vast expanse of the Yorkshire dales. Their journey takes them to a remote shanty town in the middle of a valley, the home to a community of navvies. A town called Jericho.
Jericho is rough and ready, bustling with life and a wild, carnival-like atmosphere. But life there is tough, and Annie wonders how she’ll make ends meet. She manages to find a roof for her family, but at a price – she’ll be forced to take in grubby and rowdy navvy workmen as lodgers. It won’t be easy, but Annie needs to make as much money as she possibly can to provide for her children and get their lives back on track.
Handsome and enigmatic navvy Johnny Jackson (Hans Matheson) returns to his native Yorkshire from Africa and soon finds work on the gang building the viaduct. But before long Johnny makes fierce enemies with a violent-tempered navvy on his gang. Fearing for his safety, Johnny is forced to find new lodgings and arrives, bloody-faced, on Annie’s doorstep. She agrees to take in this dashing stranger, but is unaware of the consequences it will have.
Annie and Johnny aren’t the only new arrivals in Jericho. Ralph Coates (Clarke Peters), an experienced African-American railwayman is in town, hired as foreman of the next stretch of the line. Seeing Annie’s struggle, Coates helps her out with a few provisions, but is there a motive behind his act of kindness? Coates is a quiet bystander in this small navvy town, but it soon transpires he might not be all he seems.
The viaduct is the vision of Charles Blackwood (Daniel Blackwood). His plan is to join two different railway networks separated by the valley, but Charles needs to raise money for the project to proceed. He gathers a group of investors, and is surprised when Isabella Lambton (Jeany Spark), a figure from his past, arrives amongst them. What could she possibly want after all this time, and can Charles forget old wounds in the name of business?
Back at the viaduct, the navvies prepare to blast for the foundations of the viaduct. But what they find in the bottom of the blast-pit sets off a chain of events that will threaten the future of the viaduct for Charles, and jeopardise the new life that Annie, Martha and George are anxious to forge. In need of protection, Annie desperately looks to Johnny and Coates for help. But with secrets of their own to protect, will they be her saviour or her undoing?
Thursday 14 January 2016, 9pm
Just as Annie (Jessica Raine) and her family are starting to put recent events behind them, Bamford (Mark Addy), the railway detective hired by Charles (Daniel Rigby) to find out who sabotaged his viaduct, returns to Jericho looking for Red Killeen.
Bamford is now certain that Red was behind the explosion and wants him tracked down and punished. With Bamford sniffing around, Annie, Johnny (Hans Matheson) and George (Sam Bottomley) are terrified that their deadly secret will be exposed.
In her desperation to protect George, Annie unwittingly opens the door for Bamford to get a step closer to her family and to the truth. When George goes missing it looks like Annie’s best-laid plans have backfired. Annie has to find George before his disappearance draws unwanted attention their way.
Thursday 21 January 2016, 9pm
With the cloud of Bamford (Mark Addy) no longer hanging over the town, Coates (Clarke Peters) now has the reins of Jericho firmly in his grasp. But in a bid to protect its inhabitants from rogue traders, Coates makes himself fierce enemies, which will have grave consequences for not just him but for the whole of Jericho.
Bamford’s departure also means that Annie and her family can begin to settle down. With her regular money coming in from her lodgers, George (Sam Bottomley) employed by Coates and Martha (Amy James-Kelly) earning a wage at the tavern, Annie’s main concern seems to be batting-off the not unwelcome attention of Johnny Jackson (Hans Matheson). But any closeness between them is soon shattered by terrible news – Martha has fallen sick with fever. And the fever is spreading.
Charles (Daniel Rigby) and Isabella (Jeany Spark) agree to put their troubled relationship behind them in order to forge ahead and raise capital for the viaduct. But when a ghost from Charles’ past comes knocking at the door, no one can imagine how explosive the consequences will be.
Panic grows as Martha’s condition worsens and, as the fever continues to spread, word gets out that it has taken its first victim. It’s essential that Martha sees a doctor, but Coates’ row with the traders has created an obstacle – the road into town is barricaded and violently manned.
With Martha’s breathing growing ever shallower, how will they find help in time to save her? Annie (Jessica Raine) has an idea, but she’s unaware of the hornet’s nest that’s waiting to be upturned. In trying to save Martha’s life, the dead will come back to life, and the future of the viaduct will once again be in jeopardy.
Thursday 28 January 2016, 9pm
Johnny (Hans Matheson) feels increasingly isolated as the truth about his identity spreads like wildfire throughout the town; his family want him gone, his friends shun him because they feel deceived and Coates (Clarke Peters) now sees him as a rival. Even Annie (Jessica Raine) is keeping her distance. After George (Sam Bottomley) saw them together she’s kept away from him in an attempt to reconcile with her son.
Having failed to persuade George to move home Annie decides to take a different tack. Jericho is now her home plus it’s a place of opportunity. She decides to expand her business and set up a canteen and in doing so she hopes to win her son back.
However Annie’s business ambitions creates tension between her and Coates. Bit by bit he has secured supreme control of the town and, as with all the other businesses, demands a cut of Annie’s takings. But she is having none of it and seeks a way to circumvent his ‘taxes’. Despite not enjoying being challenged, there is a determination about Annie that Coates cannot help respect.
Charles (Daniel Rigby) meanwhile stands to lose everything. The money has run out and he is facing financial ruin. Much to Isabella’s (Jeany Speark) frustration, hurt and stubbornness prevent him from even considering Johnny’s offer of help.
Charles wants nothing to do with Johnny and is determined to find another solution. On learning that Sorsby (David Westhead), a wealthy Methodist preacher is in town, Charles sets about courting him as a potential investor. Sorsby is keen to invest but on one condition: that Charles clean up the town. In Sorsby’s eyes Jericho is a den of iniquity.
While Charles continues with his unwelcome and naïve attempts to clean up Jericho, Annie discovers an ugly and dangerous truth about Charles’ new investor. Realising that the law is not interested in the goings on in a navvy town, Annie takes matters into her own hands but in doing so puts herself in danger.
Charles is faced with a conundrum. If he defends Annie he will lose Sorsby as an investor and the viaduct and the town will face certain ruin but the alternative is to leave her to Sorsby’s mercy. Johnny on the other hand knows where his loyalties lie but the question is whether he will get there on time.
Thursday 4 February 2016, 9pm
The pressure is on for Charles (Daniel Rigby) and Isabella (Jeany Spark). With no hope of outside investment, and with horns still locked with Johnny (Hans Matheson), money for the viaduct is running out and wages need to be paid. When Charles announces that wages will be delayed, the navvy workforce is up in arms and calls a strike. How long can Charles ignore this problem and will he find the cash in time to keep the men from revolting?
It’s time for George (Sam Bottomley) to move back into Annie’s (Jessica Raine) hut after his time living with Coates (Clarke Peters) at the Steam Truck. But it’s obvious that George has things on his mind, and memories of his family’s old life still haunt him. Memories that mightn’t be all they seem. Annie has buried a dark secret about her family’s past that looks to come to the surface now George is back under her roof.
When Charles resorts to desperate measures to get the men back to work, Johnny, who knows that Charles’ promises are empty ones, is forced to take a stand on behalf of Jericho. The men are furious and mob rule descends as they try to lynch Charles. It seems he’s well and truly run out of options, but Coates isn’t convinced. He’s been watching Johnny and wonders if he holds the key to solving all Charles’ problems.
Finally Johnny, knowing it will change his life forever, makes his move. Charles cannot keep slamming the door in his face, not now he has run out of options. He has to accept his help no matter what. But, as is always the case with the Blackwood brothers, it is not straightforward. Charles puts up a fight and, surprisingly, Isabella shows reluctance to have Johnny back in their lives.
While Johnny negotiates with Charles tensions are running high in Jericho and some of the men aren’t going to let the wage issue pass. With some hell-bent on getting what’s owed, a visit to Blackwood House is planned. Annie and Coates learn of the impending attack and race to the house to forewarn the Blackwoods but it looks like they might be too late. A stand off ensues and the consequences for all involved will surely be far reaching.
Thursday 11 February 2016, 9pm
Charles (Daniel Rigby) has asked a surveyor to find the most affordable location to quarry stone for the viaduct. But when Annie (Jessica Raine) and Johnny (Hans Matheson) discover that the quarry site is where the bodies of Happy Jack and Skinny are buried, panic sets in. Surely if they move the coffins they will discover Red. Everything they thought was dead and buried now looks to come back and destroy everything they have fought for.
While Annie and Johnny do all they can to keep George (Sam Bottomley) calm and prevent him from spilling their secret, the town is in outrage. They rally around Hatty (Lucy Black) and superstitions abound. Hatty, won over by the promise of a decent new head stone for Jack gives in to the inevitability of the exhumation and asks Annie to be at her side when the time comes. Annie is going to have to keep it together in the toughest of circumstances.
Johnny takes charge of the exhumation, hoping to prevent Red’s body being discovered. As the coffins of Jack and Skinny are removed, Annie and Johnny think they are going to get away with it. But a slip in the earth gives Coates (Clarke Peters) the chance to step in and, when he does, he’s aware the earth beneath the graves is disturbed and there’s something else – someone else – buried there. It’s Red
Although Red was not loved in the town, news of his murder and the desecration of Jack and Skinny’s grave spreads horror throughout Jericho. Coates is eager to discover who the murderer might be, and a clue from the gravesite leads him to Annie’s hut. Fearful for George, she stands firm in the face Coates’ investigation but Coates looks set to get to the bottom of this
After the unpleasant business of the exhumation, Charles and Isabella (Jeany Spark) try to piece together their relationship. Although they agreed their marriage was in the name of business, Isabella now wants to be Charles’ wife in all senses of the word. But when Epiphany (Martina Laird) unwittingly lets slip the truth about Isabella and Johnny’s past, no one can be prepared for the consequences.
As Annie, Johnny and George struggle to hold their nerve in the aftermath of the discovery of Red’s body, things take an ugly turn. Coates has a suspect in his sights and looks unlikely to give up until he has him under lock and key.
Thursday 18 February 2016, 9pm
JOHNNY (Hans Matheson) is the prime suspect for the murder of RED KILLEEN. Jericho wants answers and, since CHARLES (Daniel Rigby) has washed his hands of his brother, COATES (Clarke Peters) takes it upon himself to lock JOHNNY away pending the judgement of the law. Worried as to JOHNNY’s fate, ANNIE makes a desperate plea with CHARLES to have him released but CHARLES, still stinging from the knowledge that JOHNNY and ISABELLA (Jeany Speark) slept together, won’t relent.
JOHNNY must face the justice he deserves, delivered by COATES. But with GEORGE (Sam Bottomley) buckling under the pressure of knowing the wrong man has been accused, and with COATES gunning for JOHNNY, ANNIE (Jessica Raine) worries it won’t be long before the truth is exposed.
Meanwhile, the navvy community grows increasingly rowdy, fuelled by beer laid on by COATES. Talk is of bringing a magistrate to town, but Johnny’s detractors won’t hear of it. A magistrate would surely let one of their own, and Johnny is a Blackwood after all, off the hook. Instead, the citizens of Jericho must take the law into their own hands. JOHNNY will be given a hearing for the murder of RED KILLEEN. ANNIE worries that JOHNNY’s hearing will be too much for GEORGE to bear. It will be safer if he stays with LACE POLLY (Lorraine Ashbourne), out of harm’s way. But can ANNIE be sure that he hasn’t already revealed his terrible secret?
In Capsticks’ Tavern, a trial of sorts is in progress. A unique system of law is evolving in Jericho. COATES presents the facts, which appear to point to JOHNNY’s guilt in front an expectant crowd. It seems nearly the whole tavern has gathered to witness the deliberation of JOHNNY’s innocence or guilt. Amid the dissenters, voices of support for JOHNNY raise from the throng. But they’re not enough to convince COATES or the gathered assembly.
When SHAY (Darren Morfitt) suggests a shocking punishment for JOHNNY’s alleged deeds, it becomes painfully evident that Jericho justice has gained full force. EASTER (Elliot Barnes-Worrell) bears witness to the dreadful events, but will he be able to get to CHARLES in time to tell him, and will CHARLES be able to put his hurt aside to help save his brother?
With the pressure rising to fever pitch in the tavern, ANNIE sends instructions for GEORGE to be taken out of town. But when he sees the possible fate awaiting JOHNNY, he escapes back to Jericho where MARTHA (Amy James-Kelly), horrified at the events unfolding in the tavern, intercepts him. GEORGE must tell her the truth of what happened to RED.
With this information, there’s a chance she can save her mother and her brother from persecution. But an unexpected twist of events leads to an outcome that leaves the future uncertain for so many people to whom Jericho and its inhabitants means everything.
Thursday 25 February 2016, 9pm
In the aftermath of the trial, ANNIE (Jessica Raine) and JOHNNY’s (Hans Matheson) relationship is out in the open and they’re finally able to enjoy the intimacy of their union.
With COATES (Clarke Peters) on his way out of town, it seems that nothing can now disturb the peace and closeness between them. Except that COATES is determined that his time in Jericho is not yet done.
The new quarry is a huge success for Jericho. Blasting through the rock, the men discover a cavern of sandstone that will change the fortunes of the viaduct.
The only problem is that Jericho’s navvies won’t go near it: superstitions abound that the mine is on cursed land, the land where the bodies of HAPPY JACK, SKINNY and RED were buried.
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