Unforgottens Sunny Khan star praises brilliant newcomer

Unforgotten: Jess speaks about marriage fears

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The popular ITV series left fans in suspense for two years after Cassie (played by Nicola Walker) died in an unexpected twist. The first four series saw police duo Cassie and Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) solving historic cases which had been seemingly forgotten. The pair made a great team, and Unforgotten viewers found it hard to imagine the series continuing without Cassie. However, Sinéad Keenan has joined the programme as newcomer Jessica James, and actor Sanjeev recently paid tribute to his “brilliant” new co-star.

The first couple of episodes have seen Jessica struggling to gel with the team she has taken over.

The character is aware she is filling big boots as Cassie’s replacement, but actor Sanjeev wanted to make sure Sinéad didn’t also feel that way.

“I contacted Sinéad after she’d been announced, and I said to her, ‘If you want to meet up or if you want to talk, or anything like that, then I’m here,'” the Sunny star explained.

He continued: “And in the end, we managed a Zoom and then met up once before we started filming.

“I thought Sinéad was in a very similar position to Jess, in that she was coming into an existing team where you assume that everyone has a shorthand, and everyone gets on, and you don’t want to be the person who comes in and messes it up.

“I didn’t want her to arrive on day one of filming carrying that kind of baggage as Sinéad.

“She’s brilliant at what she does anyway, she’s a really lovely person. She’s very, very, very good.

“So she dropped into the scene immediately. It was almost seamless, to be honest.”

Continuing his praise for the show newbie, Sanjeev added: “She’s got a very different energy to Nicola, as Jess has to Cassie, and that’s part of the story.

“So all of that kind of helps. I’ve worked with Sinéad once.

“We’d done 30 seconds of a scene in a sitcom a few years ago. So the relationship with Sinéad felt new, and certainly, the relationship between Sunny and Jess felt new as well.”

On a separate occasion, Sinéad herself admitted she almost turned down the role due to the pressure of “replacing” Nicola.

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“I said, ‘No, no. Thanks very much, no,'” the Irish actress confessed.

Speaking to RTE, she continued: “I said, ‘Who’s going to be the gob***** to follow Nicola?’

“What I was mainly nervous about was following Nicola Walker, because who wants to do that?” she explained.

“She’s so brilliant and you almost have to forget about her [to take on the role].

“I’m a different person. I’m a different actor. It’s a different character. If I thought about it too much, well, I wouldn’t have done it.”

Thankfully, Sinéad ultimately decided she would join series five as the new officer.

The series continues on Monday with the fourth episode of the series, and fans are eager to find out how things will play out between the bickering officers as well as the historic crime being investigated.

Unforgotten continues on Monday at 9pm on ITV.

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