Year of the Rabbit hit our screens for the first time last night and there was one surprise appearance that no one was expecting

Channel 4 and Matt Berry’s new comedic murder mystery, Year of the Rabbit, got underway last night in a promising first episode that gave us a hilarious introduction to the gritty and overly stereotypical Victorian London in which the show is set.

The episode gave us our first introduction to Detective Inspector Rabbit (Berry) as well as his partners in fighting crime, Strauss (Freddie Fox) and Mabel Wisbech (Susan Wokoma).

However, there was one appearance in the episode that no one was expecting, Joseph Merrick, otherwise known as The Elephant Man. But who plays this big-headed character?

What’s Year of the Rabbit all about?

Year of the Rabbit is a period murder mystery filled with plenty of Matt Berry’s signature comedy. 

The first episode began with Inspector Rabbit on the case as he worked to solve what appeared to be a simple murder but as the episode progressed it became clear that not all was as it seemed and there may be something far greater and more sinister going on.

To see that to transpire and unfold though, we’ll have to wait for next week’s episode as we were left with a scheming Keeley Hawes as the credits rolled.

Who’s in it?

As mentioned earlier, Matt Berry (The Toast of London, The IT Crowd) stars as Detective Inspector Rabbit alongside his new fresh-faced partner Strauss (Freddie Fox). The pair are joined in the episode by the Chief of Police’s (Alun Armstrong) adoptive daughter Mabel played by Susan Wokoma. 

The first episode didn’t give us too many characters to engage with as it wanted us to get to know the series’ main stars.

However, we did catch a glimpse of Keeley Hawes’ Lydia as the episode drew to a close, who looks as if she could be playing the series’ main antagonist. 

Beyond that though we spent a rather notable scene in the presence of Joseph Merrick, otherwise known as the Elephant Man. 

Who plays the Elephant Man?

Merrick acts as an informant for Inspector Rabbit and points the policeman in the right direction to help him solve the case in what can only be described as an unorthodox method.

But just who plays him?

Well, that honour goes to David Dawson, a veteran of theatre and as a TV actor has appeared in several shows including Peaky Blinders, Luther and The Thick of It.

It’s almost impossible to recognise Dawson in Year of the Rabbit thanks to the extensive use of prosthetics to give him the true Elephant Man look but his appearance is definitely one you won’t be forgetting.

The second episode of Year of the Rabbit will be shown on Monday, June 17th at 10pm on Channel 4.

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