The English: BBC Two release date, trailer, and cast with Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer

Emily Blunt stars in The English, a new Western for BBC Two and Amazon Prime Video from Black Earth Rising writer Hugo Blick

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The English, a new Western starring Emily Blunt, is arriving on BBC Two on Thursday 10 November.

The series, which also stars Chaske Spencer and Rafe Spall, is written and directed by Hugo Blick.

Here’s everything you need to know about The English.

What is it about?

The English is a new Western from writer Hugo Blick. It’s been described as “an epic chase”, interrogating ideas about identity and revenge to tell a story about race, power, and love.

The official BBC synopsis explains that “an aristocratic Englishwoman, Lady Cornelia Locke, and a Pawnee ex-cavalry scout, Eli Whipp, come together in 1890 mid- America to cross a violent landscape built on dreams and blood. Both of them have a clear sense of their destiny but neither is aware that it is rooted in a shared past. They must face increasingly terrifying obstacles that will test them to their cores, physically and psychologically.”

“But as each obstacle is overcome it draws them closer to their ultimate destination, the new town of Hoxem, Wyoming. It is here, after an investigation by the local sheriff Robert Marshall and young widow Martha Myers into a series of bizarre and macabre unsolved murders, that the full extent of their intertwined history will be truly understood, and they will come face to face with the future they must live.”

Who stars in The English?

Emily Blunt as Cornelia Locke in The English (Credit: Drama Republic/BBC/Amazon Studios)Emily Blunt as Cornelia Locke in The English (Credit: Drama Republic/BBC/Amazon Studios)
Emily Blunt as Cornelia Locke in The English (Credit: Drama Republic/BBC/Amazon Studios)

Emily Blunt plays Cornelia Locke, a privileged English aristocrat. You’ll know Blunt from film appearances in A Quiet Place, The Edge of Tomorrow, The Devil Wears Prada, and Sicario; The English is her first major television role, though she’s previously appeared in episodes of Foyle’s War and Poirot.

Chaske Spencer plays Eli Whipp, an ex-cavalry scout and a Native American from Pawnee. Spencer is best known for playing Sam Uley in the Twilight movies, though you might also recognise him from the Cinemax crime drama Banshee. He can next be seen in the Marvel series Echo.

Stephen Rhea plays Robert Marshall, a local Wyoming Sheriff. Rhea has appeared in films like Interview with the Vampire, V for Vendetta, and Michael Collins, and was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in 1992 for The Crying Game. He’s previously worked with Hugo Blick in The Shadow Line and The Honourable Woman.

They’re joined by Valerie Pachner (A Hidden Life, The Kingsman), Rafe Spall (The Salisbury Poisonings, Trying), Tom Hughes (A Discovery Of Witches, Victoria), Toby Jones (Marvellous, Detectorists) and Ciarán Hinds (The Terror, The Woman In Black).

Who writes and directs The English?

Hugo Blick both writes and directs every episode of The English. Previously, Blick was the writer/director on The Shadow Line, The Honourable Woman, and Black Earth Rising.

Is there a trailer for The English?

Yes, there is! You can watch it right here.

When and how can I watch it?

The English begins on BBC Two on Thursday 10 November. You’ll also be able to watch every episode as a boxset on BBC iPlayer from launch.

Internationally, the series will be available on Amazon Prime Video from Friday 11 November.

How many episodes are there?

There are six episodes to The English, each of which are around 50 minutes long. In an interview with the BBC, Hugo Blick explained that “these were slim scripts, made even slimmer in the edit. Whenever I could, I honed them down. They started at an hour each, we got them down to fifty minutes. The last episode is just over an hour, but I feel it earns it.”

Where is it set?

Like many classic Westerns, The English filmed in Spain; interestingly, though, the production team opted not to shoot in Almeria, where many of the Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood movies were filmed, instead favouring Avila, just outside of Madrid.

Why should I watch The English?

It’s one to watch if you’re fond of Westerns, or of Emily Blunt’s performances. It’s also worth checking out if you like Hugo Blick dramas – and if you’ve never seen any of his work, they tend to be quite dense and thoughtful, so this might be a good place to start.

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