After a heartwrenching and painful first episode, viewers don’t know what to expect from episode 2 of The Virtues.

Shane Meadows’ gritty drama follows alcohol and drug-abusing Joseph (Stephen Graham) as he journeys back to visit his estranged sister in Ireland.

But who plays his sister Anna, who we are introduced to in the second episode (Wednesday, May 22nd)?

Here is everything you need to know about the Irish actress with a rather suprising backstory…

Helen Behan (c) in The Virtues

Who plays Anna in The Virtues?

Anna is played by Irish actress Helen Behan.

Despite her stupendous talent, you will be surprised to hear this is only the fourth project she has worked on as an actress!

And there’s a reason, as Helen Behan’s full-time occupation is as a nurse – yes, that’s right! Helen day-to-day job in Ireland is a nurse, and she’s not trading it in for a star-lit acting career just yet.

What else has Helen Behan been in?

If you’re a fan of Shane Meadows’ work, then you probably recognise Helen Behan.

She was in both This Is England ’88 and This Is England ’90.

Although she did not play the same character, playing Evelyn in the former and Helen in the latter. Shane Meadows just couldn’t let go of the actress after he had come across her talent!

How did Helen and Shane meet?

Speaking to Channel 4, Helen recounted how she had a chance encounter with Shane – her favourite director – at her local pub.

She believed “the planets had aligned to bring one of the best directors ever to my local.”

After introducing herself and expressing her love for his work and her desire to act, Shane invited her to England to audition for This Is England ’88…

And the rest is history!

What did Helen say about The Virtues?

Many believe that the role of Anna was then written with Helen in mind, as he approached her with the idea years back.

She said:

He’s [Shane] given me a meatier part, I suppose because he thinks I’m ready to take on something a bit more challenging. Shane and I are now great pals.

We’re sure Helen’s career is about to skyrocket after her performance in The Virtues and that she might have to trade in her day job!

Check out her work in the show below…


Who is the Forensics: The Real CSI narrator? She’s a Downton Abbey star!

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know

More in Meet the Cast