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Sinead Keenan almost turned down Unforgotten over replacing Nicola Walker: 'Who wants to do that?'

Sinead Keenan and Sanjeev Bhaskar star in Unforgotten. (ITV)
Sinead Keenan and Sanjeev Bhaskar star in Unforgotten. (ITV)

Unforgotten's new star Sinead Keenan has admitted she turned down the role to begin with over nerves about replacing Nicola Walker.

She will star alongside Sanjeev Bhaskar after Walker exited her role as Cassie at the end of series four when she was killed off, but Keenan revealed that she refused to even read the scripts when she was first offered the job as detective Jess.

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Keenan told PA news agency: "I said: ‘No, no. Thanks very much, no.’ I said: ‘Who’s going to be the gob***** to follow Nicola?"

The Being Human actor added: "What I was mainly nervous about was following Nicola Walker, because who wants to do that?

Nicola Walker previously starred in Unforgotten. (ITV)
Nicola Walker previously starred in Unforgotten. (ITV)

"She’s so brilliant and you almost have to forget about her (to do 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."

Cassie Stuart was killed off in a random accident, shocking viewers as well as co-star Bhaskar, who plays DI Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan.

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Bhaskar said: "I was shocked four times. I was shocked when I was told, I was shocked when I read the script. I was shocked when we filmed the scenes. I’m shocked when I watched it. So I kind of get why people were shocked."

Sinead Keenan's Jess has a tough start. (ITV)
Sinead Keenan's Jess has a tough start. (ITV)

Keenan's character Jess will also have a tough time joining the force when she clashes with a grieving Sunny, who is usually calm and measured but is suffering the loss of his colleague and friend.

The cast newcomer said: "Sunny is grieving, the team is grieving, not just a colleague, but a friend. And she’s doing a dreadful job.

"I can only imagine from Sunny’s point of view, it’s like: ‘Well I’ve lost one of my best friends, and this is who you choose to replace her with?’"

Unforgotten returns to ITV1 on Monday, 27 February.