Donaghmore actor Liam McMahon lands role in chilling ITV crime drama The Secret

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Donaghmore actor Liam McMahon will hit the TV screens in the chilling crime drama, The Secret, playing one of the dogged, modern-day detectives investigating the notorious double murder.

Starring James Nesbitt, the drama tells the story of how dentist Colin Howell and his mistress Hazel Stewart killed their partners Lesley Howell and Trevor Buchanan in Northern Ireland in 1991.

At the time the deaths were thought to be a suicide pact, with the killers not brought to justice for almost 20 years.

Liam, who has acted in the films Snatch, Hunger and Northanger Abbey, as well as the TV series The Borgias, and the Tudors, said he was delighted to have landed the role. “It was a Godsend to me really, in that the filming took place not long after my mother Ethna passed away”, he said. “It was a powerful distraction from all the emotional upheaval of grief, and I felt that she was with me all the time, helping me through that difficult time.

“The role was challenging in unexpected ways. It was the first time I was playing a real-life character - D.S. Geoff Ferris, who broke Hazel Stewart and secured a confession from her.

“It was incredibly raw and intense. I had to read the original transcripts of the police interview and stick to what was actually said. So there was no room for improvisation and artistic license.”

“My mother was always asking me when I was going to work with Jimmy Nesbitt and my only regret is that she won’t see the performance.”

Liam is also due to appear in another major drama series, The Living and The Dead, which is due to be broadcast on BBC 1 later in the year.

This time it’s an English period drama, with him playing the part of a mysterious Kerry gypsy alongside Colin Morgan.

Liam has won critical acclaim for his role in the 2008 film Hunger, which was directed by Steve McQueen and written by Enda Walsh. The film premiered in Cannes 2008, where it opened the official sidebar section, Un Certain Regard and would go on to win the Golden Camera award (Camera d’or).