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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Cast announced for second series of award-winning Land Girls

Jo Woodcock (All The Small Things) and Becci Gemmell (Home Time) return as land girls Bea and Joyce in the new, five-part series of the award-winning Land Girls, for BBC One Daytime. They're joined by newcomer Seline Hizli, who plays streetwise, cockney land girl Connie Carter, who causes mayhem from the moment she arrives on the farm.

Created by Roland Moore, the highly-popular and award-winning drama returns for a second series set in the rural Forties and continues to follow the lives and loves of the land girls doing their bit for Britain in the Women's Land Army (WLA).

Additional new faces joining the cast are Clive Wood (London's Burning), who plays millionaire American businessman Jack Gillespie; Raquel Cassidy (Lead Balloon, Teachers) as Lady Hoxley's sister, the fun-loving Diana Granville; and Liam Garrigan (The Pillars Of The Earth, Holby, The Chase), who plays the young and charming Rev Henry Jameson.

Other familiar faces returning for the new series include Sophie Ward as Lady Hoxley, Mark Benton as Farmer Finch, Danny Webb as Sgt Tucker, Susan Cookson and Mykola Allen as Esther and her son, Martin, and Liam Boyle as Billy Finch.

Against the backdrop of war weary Forties Britain, Land Girls is again set on the Hoxley estate - at the run-down Pasture Farm and the opulent Hoxley Manor – and several months have passed since the end of the last series.

Bea, now a farmer's wife and mother, and land girl Joyce, are joined at Pasture Farm by new land girl Connie. As the women work hard on the land, serving their country, the drama follows them as they live out their lives in the shadow of war.

Liam Keelan, Controller of BBC Daytime, says: "It's wonderful to have so many of our original cast returning for the second series of our award-winning drama, as well as some exciting new names, too. The first series proved to be hugely popular, pulling in audiences of more than two million with its warm, uplifting, but also compelling, story.

He adds: "The first series of Land Girls was something completely new for our viewers, as it was the first period drama commissioned and shown for the BBC One Daytime audience. This second series is part of BBC Daytime's ongoing commitment to produce more quality original British drama, which we know our audiences love."

Becci Gemmell plays the fiercely patriotic and eternally optimistic Joyce who, at the end of the last series, was briefly reunited with her husband, John, before he was forced to join the dangerous bomber command.

Jo Woodcock plays Bea, who is married to Billy (played by Liam Boyle). She has a six-month-old son, the result of being seduced and having a one-night stand with an American GI. Despite this, Bea and Billy are now happily married, but new arrivals in Helmstead lead to cracks appearing in their marriage.

Seline Hizli plays Connie, a feisty, opinionated, young cockney. Prone to telling tall stories, it is hard to know who the real Connie is, as she causes mayhem everywhere she goes. But, after she meets the Rev Henry Jameson (played by Liam Garrigan), will she come good in the end?

Sophie Ward plays Lady Ellen Hoxley, the lady of the manor. Widowed at the end of the last series she is coping well with bereavement, as she never had a deep love for her husband, Laurence, and is free of his secret.

Ellen now has her sister, Diana (played by Raquel Cassidy), staying with her. The two women are very different and bicker continually – within the confines of "proper" behaviour, of course.

The arrival of American businessman Jack Gillespie (played by Clive Wood) attracts attention from them both – leading to an upper-class love triangle.

Susan Cookson plays Esther Reeves and Mykola Allen plays her son, Martin. Along with the land girls, who Esther looks after, they live at Pasture Farm with Frederick Finch (played by Mark Benton). When Martin falls victim to a nasty accident, Esther is faced with a moral dilemma to save her son.

Danny Webb plays Sgt Tucker, arrested at the end of the last series for the murder of Lord Hoxley. As the case falls apart he is released, but faces the struggle of having to rebuild his life.

Land Girls is again being made by the team behind BBC Birmingham's award-winning Doctors, and is being filmed on location in and around the West Midlands.

The executive producers are Will Trotter and John Yorke and the producer is Erika Hossington.

Notes to Editors

Land Girls won the Broadcast Award for Best Daytime Programme in 2009, and the first series attracted an average audience of 2.1m when it was first shown on BBC One Daytime.

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