Red Eye: How To Watch The TV Show Everyone’s Talking About

By Olivia Emily

4 weeks ago

This six-part drama is pretty intense

Everyone’s talking about ITV’s latest drama, an adrenaline-fuelled six-part drama starring Richard Armitage and set on an aeroplane. If you want to get in on the action, here’s everything you need to know before you tune in.

Red Eye On ITVX

JING LUSI as DC Hana Li and RICHARD ARMITAGE as DR Matthew Nolan in Red Eye

JING LUSI as DC Hana Li and RICHARD ARMITAGE as DR Matthew Nolan. © ITVX

What Is Red Eye About?

Red Eye centres on Dr Matthew Nolan (Richard Armitage), a British doctor who is arrested for murder upon arriving back in the UK from a medical conference in Beijing. After attending the conference, he comes frighteningly close to dying in a car crash. Upon landing in the UK, he is immediately arrested after a dead woman was found in his crashed car in Beijing. Despite his protests that he was driving alone, he is arrested and shipped back to China to face charges, accompanied by no-nonsense London police officer DC Hana Li (Jing Lusi).

Born in Hong Kong and with a traumatic past, Hana does not want to accompany Matthew to China. So, once ordered to do exactly that, she is resentful of the assignment – and Matthew, too. When another death occurs on board the flight, Hana begins to suspect foul play and commences an investigation.

Back in London, we meet Hana’s half sister, Jess Li (Jemma Moore), a scrappy journalist trying to cash in on Hana’s assignment. She runs her own investigation into Matthew’s extradition, only to find herself on the run from a lethal, unknown assassin.

And in Thames House, MI5 are involved, too. Here we follow Madeline Delaney (Lesley Sharp), who breaks protocol to help Hana and Matthew stay alive.

RICHARD ARMITAGE as DR Matthew Nolan in Red Eye


Red Eye is a brilliantly addictive thriller with an international story taking place on the red eye flight from Heathrow to Beijing,’ says ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill. ‘Thanks to Peter A Dowling’s scripts, the story will have the audience gripped and continually surprised throughout.’

‘When developing a new show with the brilliantly creative minds over at Bad Wolf, I knew I wanted it to be an exciting, relevant, and timely thriller – a story with global stakes that remained rooted in the perspective of relatable characters,’ says series creator and writer, Peter A Dowling. ‘I’ve always been drawn to stories set in a confined location because I find that the restrictions, rather than hindering the storytelling process, actually ignite my creativity. I love nothing more than cornering a character in a life-threatening situation and then puzzling a way out.’

Is It A True Story?

No, Red Eye is not a true story. Instead, series writer Dowling created the story, inspired by classic crime dramas. ‘Settling on an Agatha Christie-type murder mystery on a plane, I decided the heart of the story would be a police officer escorting a prisoner somewhere for a crime he claims he didn’t commit,’ says Dowling. ‘But the project only fully sparked to life when the idea of a red eye flight to Beijing was decided upon, which would dictate that the police officer escorting our prisoner back to China, to avoid cultural misunderstandings, would probably be Asian. As would the flight staff and many of the passengers. Suddenly the show had a vitality and contemporary feel that reflected the multicultural world we live in. It was something I knew I had to write.

‘As far as I knew, there had never been a Chinese-British policewoman leading an English show and, at that moment, DC Hana Li was born,’ says Dowling. ‘A wonderfully complex woman who struggles inside with her own cultural identity but has no hesitance on the job or in her abilities as a detective. All that we then needed was an equally multifaceted prisoner and when we landed up on the idea of a surgeon, Dr. Matthew Nolan, who had visited China to give lectures, we knew that he could be instrumental in helping Hana investigate the growing number of deaths onboard. Someone who could grow from her antagonist to her partner.’

JING LUSI as DC Hana Li in Red Eye


Was It Actually Filmed On A Plane?

Yes, Red Eye was actually filmed on a plane, Jing Lusi tells us – though not one in the air. ‘I didn’t realise we were filming on a real plane,’ she told C&TH in February 2024. ‘I thought it would be specially built or modified with removable panels, but no, it was actually a real plane. So as you can imagine, we were all in very confined spaces for long hours, so we all bonded very quickly!’

Other filming locations include: Stansted Airport, Liverpool Street Station, and the streets of London. The Beijing scenes were filmed in London and onset. Armitage said on filming: ‘I’ve been to China before, so I could draw on my experience of it. It’s always nice to travel, but actually it wasn’t really necessary for this shoot. The world they created for Beijing was pretty amazing. I walked onto that set, and it was a wow moment. I really felt like I was down a back street in Wangfujing; it was fantastic. I was more disappointed we weren’t up in the air in the aeroplane, but that would have been a six-week flight. I still feel like we should have got some air miles from somewhere for the amount of time we spent in that business class cabin!’



The Cast

  • Jing Lusi as DC Hana Li, a London-based police officer who accompanies Dr Matthew Nolan on his flight back to Beijing
  • Richard Armitage as Dr Matthew Nolan, a respected medical doctor who is accused of murdering a woman after returning home from Beijing
  • Lesley Sharp as Madeline Delaney, a Director of MI5 who leads the official response to the murders on Air China 357
  • Jemma Moore as Jess Li, Hana’s half sister and a budding journalist
  • Dan Li
  • Kevan MacKenzie
  • Cash Holland
  • Xiangyi Tan
  • Daphne Cheung
  • Elaine Tan
  • Robert Gilbert
  • Rick Warden
JEMMA MOORE as Jess Li in Red Eye


How Many Episodes?

There are six episodes in Red Eye.

Release Schedule

If you would like to watch Red Eye when it airs on ITV1, you can catch it at the following times:

  • Episode 1: 21 April 2024 at 9pm
  • Episode 2: 28 April 2024 at 9pm
  • Episode 3: 5 May 2024 at 9pm
  • Episode 4: 12 May 2024 at 9pm
  • Episode 5: 19 May 2024 at 9pm
  • Episode 6: 26 May 2024 at 9pm

Where Is Red Eye Streaming?

If you can’t wait for weekly episodes, all six episodes of Red Eye are streaming now on ITVX.