Game of Thrones McElhinney joins EastEnders duo for Irish spin-off
Game of Thrones star Ian McElhinney is poised to swap Westeros for Waterford as he joins EastEnders's Kat and Alfie Moon in their spin-off drama series Redwater, the BBC has said.
Set in a fictional village in Ireland, the six-part adventure has been created by outgoing executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins.
Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace, Alfie and Kat respectively, will appear alongside Downton Abbey's Maria Doyle Kennedy, Lost's Fionnula Flanagan and Belfast-born McElhinney.
Despite being in his late 60s, McElhinney's career continues to go from strength to strength.
He was seen recently in the BBC drama The Truth Commissioner but won't be back for Game of Thrones later this month.
McElhinney said he was "miffed" after Ser Barristan Selmy became another casualty of HBO's swords and sorcery epic that loves to kill off key characters. There have also been appearances in Belfast serial killer drama The Fall, starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan.
Redwater's ensemble also includes Shameless star Angeline Ball, Brooklyn's Peter Campion and The Tunnel's Stanley Townsend.
The cast is rounded off by Oisin Stack, Stephen Hogan, Susan Ateh, Ian Toner and Ebony O'Toole-Acheampong.
London-born Wallace (44), said: "I walked into the drama read-through to a table full of wonderful Irish actors and it was thrilling.
"They all made me feel so very welcome as we started to read the first script. It's going to be a rollercoaster."
Richie (52) said: "Wow! What an honour to be in this unbelievable drama and working alongside some of Ireland's finest actors.
"At the moment it's a whirlwind so I'm just getting into the new scripts, which are electric."
Talking about Redwater, Flanagan said: "This is a fascinating character, full of secrets, deceit and manipulation. My favourite!"
The Dublin-born actress, who has starred in three Star Trek spin-off TV series, added: "It's a wonderful story which will keep you guessing forever and ever.
"Great writing and a fabulous director."
Redwater is a picturesque Irish harbour village, a quiet rural idyll by the sea where the Kelly and Dolan families have lived for generations.
When Kat and Alfie Moon arrive in search of her long-lost son, Kat's quest for the truth uncovers secrets the village of Redwater would rather were left buried at sea.
The BBC One series, produced by Casualty's Vicky Wharton, will be broadcast in 2017.
Helmed by multi-award-winning Danish director Jesper Nielsen, of Borgen fame, it has been scripted by EastEnders writers including Life On Mars creator Matthew Graham, Casualty's Julie Dixon, Holby City's Lauren Klee and Death In Paradise's Matthew Barry.
Treadwell-Collins hailed Redwater as "very special", while Nielsen pointed to "echoes of a Shakespearean drama".
"It was our intention from the start to create a new contemporary ensemble drama set in Ireland and we are so thrilled and lucky to have such a talented team on board for Redwater," Treadwell-Collins said.