Niamh Algar and Helen Behan: Meet the Irish Stars of The Virtues

“Personally, I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” actor Stephen Graham told RadioTimes.com.

Remember these names. 

The brand new gritty Channel 4 drama The Virtues airs its finale on Wednesday evening, putting an end to the gripping yet visceral piece penned by This is England creators Shane Meadows and Jack Thorne.

Written and directed by Meadows, The Virtues is as emotionally-charged as it is self-destructive, with memories from a dark part punctuating the narrative intuitively. 

The piece follows Joseph, a doomed figure dealing with alcohol addiction and memories from a hardened past. Life is then thrown into further disarray when his ex-partner moves to Australia and takes their son with her. 

The series stars Helen Behan (Anna) and Niamh Algar (Dinah) – two wildly impressive women hailing from Ireland who both began acting at a young age. 

Algar, the youngest of five siblings, was named by Screen Daily a 2018 Screen International Star of Tomorrow for her leading turn in the new drama, first coming to prominence in the 2017 Indie film Without Name.

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 By @charliegraystudio for @1883magazine

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You also may remember the Bow Street-alum from fellow Channel 4 drama Pure as Amber before being announced as a regular in Ridley Scott's sci-fi series Raised by Wolves.

Helen Behan, on the other hand, landed a role in the BAFTA-award winning This Is England series following a chance meeting of writer and director Shane Meadows in a Bettystown pub. 

The rest, as they say, is history. 

This Is England ’88 was followed by another role as a nurse in This Is England ’90, this time administering to Stephen Graham’s character Combo. Now, Behan has been reunited with Graham in The Virtues

In it, she plays a central role – the long-lost sister of Graham’s character, Joseph, who, having an alcoholic breakdown travels from Liverpool to Ireland to face up to his traumatic past in a children’s home – while also delicately stealing scenes with nuance and intrigue. 

Watching the mother-of-four and Graham work in tandem, you wouldn't know that Behan was the virtual novice and that Graham was the seasoned veteran with nearly 50 movies under his belt. 

Both women star in the series finale on Wednesday, 5 June at 9pm. 

Main image by @niamhalgar

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