It’s one of the great British gangster movies – and now, Paramount+ brings you the origin story of its memorable characters. Here’s what you need to know about Sexy Beast
By Charlotte Briggs, Staff Writer + Chris Miller, Feature Writer
The boys are back in town. More than 20 years after gangsters Gal Dove, Don Logan and Teddy Bass hit our screens in the gripping, violent film Sexy Beast, the trio are returning in Paramount’s action-packed new series that shows you Gal and Don’s origin story.
Where the film focused on Gal’s attempts to live out a peaceful retirement in Spain, only to be coaxed back for the classic “one last job” by Don, the series transports viewers to London’s seedy underbelly during the 1990s. Gal (James McArdle, Mary Queen Of Scots) and Don (Emun Elliott, Guilt) are a couple of small fish starting out in a very big and murky pond. But when they catch the attention of rising crime kingpin Teddy Bass (Stephen Moyer, True Blood), the pair are enrolled into a high-stakes job that could change their lives.
And with big rewards come even bigger risks. While the high life that Gal and Don are desperately chasing remains tantalisingly close, the reality is they find themselves caught more tightly in Teddy’s dangerous criminal web.
But it’s not all bloody gun battles and heart-racing heists. The series also introduces viewers to Deedee Harrison (Sarah Greene, Dublin Murders) – an alluring adult film star who finds herself irresistibly attracted to Gal, and the two begin an intense love affair. We also meet Cecilia (Tamsin Greig, Friday Night Dinner), Don’s controlling and formidable older sister who has more than a hand in guiding her brother’s sometimes brutal activities.
The stylish and memorable film Sexy Beast was the first feature by director Jonathan Glazer, the man behind the new acclaimed new movie The Zone Of Interest. The original film is certainly worth seeking out, but you don’t need to watch it before immersing yourself in this new drama. Writer, director and executive producer Michael Caleo knows his gangsters – he previously worked as a writer on The Sopranos and also wrote the 2013 Mafia movie The Family, starring Robert De Niro.
Don’t miss the first episode of the eight-part original series Sexy Beast, which is available on Thursday 25 January exclusively on Paramount+. Until then, meet the cast of the new series…
Gary “Gal” Dove
An aspirational young man, Gal is eager to amass a fortune big enough to let him live the life of Riley. But is the criminal career Teddy offers him worth the risks? Is his relationship with Deedee a dangerous distraction? And will Don help or hinder Gal’s ambitions?
Played by… Glasgow-born James McArdle, who’s been in films including Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Mary Queen Of Scots, as well as Mare Of Easttown, Life After Life and Appropriate Adult on TV. He takes on Ray Winstone’s role and with his bleached hair and searching stare, he’s every inch the young Gal.
He just wants a milkshake. Is that too much to ask? Don’s rage is constantly simmering, always ready to blow – an attribute that makes him handy in a tight spot. In a hazardous world, Don and Gal are close, looking out for each other. But can their brother-like bond remain strong?
Played by… Emun Elliott, who has big shoes to fill after Ben Kingsley’s award-winning turn as the monstrous Don. Elliott knows his way around a crime thriller, though, with roles in BBC series Guilt and The Gold, as well as Prime Video’s The Rig.
When Don visits Gal and Deedee in the film, he spits “ex-porn star” at her with contempt. But the Deedee we meet in the series is an ambitious woman who’s determined to gain full control over her career and her future. Is she willing to put it all on the line for Gal?
Played by… Irish actor Sarah Greene, who’s been seriously in demand in recent years with roles in critical hits such as Normal People and Bad Sisters. Greene plays Deedee as headstrong and flirty, with a wild streak – it’s easy to see why McArdle’s Gal falls for her.
The series shows us why – even in retirement – Gal still feels loyalty towards Teddy (Ian McShane in the film), the man who recruited him into the high-stakes world of organised crime. But the thing about shady underworld bosses is… well, you can’t always trust them, can you? The opportunities offered by lawbreaking bring Teddy and Gal together, but the precarious life and continually shifting allegiances could pull them apart.
Played by… Stephen Moyer, who’s best known for his role as Bill Compton in hysterical vampire drama True Blood, although he also has British crime thriller The Hatton Garden Job on his résumé. More recently he’s starred in romantic dramas After We Fell, After Ever Happy and After Everything.
Don’s older sister runs an arcade that looks like a legit business but is actually the location of all sorts of illicit activity. She’s also determined to exercise control over her brother. But is she helping him, or helping herself?
Played by… Tamsin Grieg, a familiar and always welcome face on British TV, from cult noughties comedies Green Wing and Black Books to starring alongside Matt Le Blanc in Episodes and in recent dramas like Belgravia – but her finest hour is the superlative sitcom Friday Night Dinner.
When does Sexy Beast start on Virgin TV?
The eight-part series Sexy Beast begins on Paramount+ on Thursday 25 January.
How to watch Paramount+ with Virgin TV
If you’re a Virgin TV 360 box or Stream from Virgin Media customer, you can get Paramount+ direct on your telly once you’ve got a subscription to the service. Simply sign up online, then log in on the box. And because Paramount+ is fully integrated into Virgin TV 360 and Stream, you can search without even going into the app. Just select Search & Discover from the Home menu and type in the name of the show or movie you’re after. You can also voice search Paramount+ shows with your remote, or say “Paramount Plus” to get to the app even faster.
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