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Huge hit New series The Nevers starring Red Rock actress Ann Skelly on course for massive success in the US

HBO Max has recorded its best-ever debut for an original series for the show which follows a group of women with extraordinary powers in 19th Century London.

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Ann Skelly

Ann Skelly

Ann Skelly

Former Red Rock star Ann Skelly has helped to turn her new fantasy drama The Nevers into a huge hit in the U.S.

HBO Max has recorded its best-ever debut for an original series for the show which follows a group of women with extraordinary powers in 19th Century London.

Skelly, who was born in Dublin and raised in Wexford, is one of the two main leads alongside Northern Ireland’s Laura Donnelly.

The two female stars are supported by A-listers James Norton, Ben Chaplin, Nick Frost, Eleanor Tomlinson and Pip Torrens.

Red Rock fans will know Skelly as tearaway schoolgirl Rachel Reid, who had an affair with her dad’s abusive best friend, a rogue cop, for three years in the garda drama.

The Nevers had its debut in the US on Sunday night and pulled in 1.4 million viewers across linear telecasts and digital, a figure expected to rocket in coming days.

This was the best debut for a show on the year-old streaming service which is only available in the US.

The Nevers will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic and Now TV in Ireland and the UK from next month.

TV bosses were delighted that viewing figures surpassed those of other hit HBO Max series like David E. Kelley’s psychological thriller The Undoing and the Misha Green horror drama Lovecraft Country.

The Nevers was created by Joss Whedon, who had huge worldwide success with Buffy the Vampire Slayer but who has since left the project.

The story follows a gang of Victorian women known as The Touched who find themselves with unusual powers after a supernatural event in 1896.

Their lives are in grave danger and it falls to mysterious, battling widow Amalia True (Donnelly) and her brilliant inventor sidekick Penance Adair (Skelly) to protect and shelter these gifted “orphans.”

They have to face brutal forces determined to annihilate their kind in the six-part series.

The show looks set to turn its two Irish leads into big TV stars across the Atlantic.

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Skelly (24) received huge praise from heartthrob Jamie Dornan when they appeared together in the three-part drama Death and Nightingales three years ago.

The Fifty Shades of Grey actor predicted that Skelly was going to be a huge star of the future.

In that period drama set in 1885 Fermanagh The Fall star played mysterious farmer Liam Ward who had an affair with the innocent Beth Winters, played by Skelly.

Dornan recommended Skelly for the part to director and writer Allan Cubbitt who also directed his TV show The Fall.

“I didn’t know a huge amount about her but from what I’d seen she was brilliant,” said Dornan.

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Screen adaptation: the BBC dramatised Death and Nightingales, starring Ann Skelly and Jamie Dornan, in 2018

Screen adaptation: the BBC dramatised Death and Nightingales, starring Ann Skelly and Jamie Dornan, in 2018

Screen adaptation: the BBC dramatised Death and Nightingales, starring Ann Skelly and Jamie Dornan, in 2018

“She’s lived up to the hype and she’s so fun, which is important. I think she’s going to be quite something. She will be a big deal.”

Director Cubitt was also blown away by the actress’s performance in Death and Nightingales saying: “She is simply one of the best actors I've ever worked with.

“It's sort of mind blowing how good she is. I think she's got all the qualities that an actor needs to do exceptional work.”

Skelly, who appeared in the BBC’s adaptation of Little Women with Emily Watson in 2017, was nominated for an IFTA for Best Actress in Kissing Candice the following year.

Outlander star Donnelly (38) won the Best Actress award at the Olivier Awards for her performance in The Ferryman in 2018.

She has also appeared in The Fall, Britannia, and in the Irish film Insatiable.

She played George Best’s sister Barbara in the BBC drama, Best: His Mother’s Son.

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