Noughts and Crosses has arrived on BBC One with some surprising actors among its cast.

It’s always a welcome surprise when you spot a well-known actor in a surprise appearance.

“I recognise you!” is a common shout in many a living room when a familiar face pops up in a film or TV show.

In the case of new BBC One drama Noughts and Crosses, the majority of the cast members, certainly the lead actors, are relative newcomers.

As a result, it was still a very welcome surprise for fans to spot actor Ian Hart in the role of Ryan McGregor in the new series.

Noughts and Crosses on BBC One

Noughts and Crosses, which is based on the highly acclaimed novel series of the same name by Malorie Blackman, tells the story of a divided London.

Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary | Official Trailer | IMDb TV

However, this is not the London we know. Races have been segregated into crosses (black people) and noughts (white people) in a series that mirrors the period of apartheid in South Africa where one group of people are treated as an underclass, in the case of the series, it’s the noughts.

At the middle of this tense society, we focus on two people in a Romeo and Juliet-esque tale, Callum and Sephy, a nought and a cross, who fall in love despite there being a million and one laws saying that the two groups shouldn’t mix.

Meet Ryan McGregor actor Ian Hart

Taking on the role of Ryan McGregor in the series is Ian Hart.

Hart, who was born as Ian Davies in the Liverpool suburb of Knotty Ash in 1964, has long been on the acting path with him joining the Everyman Youth Theatre in his teens as well as studying at the now-defunct Mabel Fletcher College of Music and Drama.

As for his character, Ryan is Callum’s father and in his youth was an activist in the struggle for nought equality but as he grew older, got married and started a family, his activism became less important.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of the show airing, Ian Hart said: “Noughts + Crosses is bringing these issues [of race and racism] to the forefront and that is important.

“The whole nature of this story is a reversal, and reversing the stereotype is a very clever way to put a new lens on an issue.

“So there is an element of reverse racism within this drama, which makes you feel uncomfortable, but it has to be done.” 

Ian Hart: Films and TV

Over a career that spans almost four decades, Ian Hart has appeared in over 110 acting roles according to IMDb.

The first of these came in 1983 when he appeared Channel 4 mini-series, One Summer. 

Since then, Ian Hart has gone on to appear in some of the biggest films and TV shows out there with some of his biggest roles to date coming in the likes of Boardwalk Empire, the TV show Dirt, the Oscar-nominated film Mary Queen of Scots and of course, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where he played Professor Quirrell.

Noughts and Crosses, which features Ian Hart, continues on Thursday evenings at 9pm until the final episode airs on April 9th. Alternatively, fans can stream the whole series now via BBC iPlayer.

In other news, NCIS season 19 episode 7 cast: Meet guest stars of 'Docked'