Along with its just-announced epic event series, Troy – Fall Of A City, BBC One has ordered a raft of new dramas. Talent behind the projects includes Hanif Kureshi, Matt Charman and Peter Moffatt. The adaptation of JK Rowling’s secretly-penned post-Harry Potter series of detective novels is also going forward after being announced in December.
At an event in London on Tuesday evening, BBC Director-General Tony Hall and BBC One chief Charlotte Moore unveiled the slate on the set of upcoming 20-part drama Dickensian. That super-literary-hero mash-up, starring Stephen Rea, is on deck to air as part of the fall/winter season. Also coming up for air are Abi Morgan’s River; David Farr’s The Night Manager; War And Peace, a Weinstein Co co-production; The Tracey Ullman Show and returning series Luther and Sherlock.
At a time when the BBC is under intense scrutiny from the government, Moore made some bold statements. She said she believes that BBC One is “more modern, more in touch with the audience, more diverse and more ambitious.” She further said she was “determined to create more shared experiences by originating event television that cuts through, disrupts the schedule and gets the nation talking. BBC One will be defined in the coming years by its commitment to risk taking. I will guarantee investment in innovation. And I will challenge every new commission to break the mold.”
Here’s a look at the new dramas Moore unveiled:
Rush Of Blood: Adapted from the Mark Billingham novel by Matt Charman (Steven Spielberg’s Bridge Of Spies). The three-part drama focuses on three couples who return from a holiday in Florida and realize one of them must have been responsible for a murder. Made by Murderous Productions Limited/On the Corner Limited.
The Last Post: An eight-part drama set in Aden in 1965 and based on the childhood memories of Peter Moffat (The Village). The story of a British Army unit fighting a terrorist insurgency in the Middle East and the women and children who were there with them. BBC One says it will encompass “Danger, heat, glamour, grenade attacks, roadside mines, sniper actions, gin and tonic, polka dot bikinis and fish and chips at the BP beach club, Strangers In The Night, death in the desert, drinking and smoking like there’s no tomorrow, frying eggs on the bonnets of Land Rovers, the politics of occupier and occupied, and love and war a long way from home.” Bonafide Films and The Forge Entertainment are producing.
To Sir With Love: Kureshi is adapting E.R. Braithwaite’s 1959 novel as a 90-minute one-off from Rainmark Films (The Frankenstein Chronicles). Set in London’s East End in the aftermath of WW2, the story centers on Guyanese engineer Ricky Braithwaite who returns from the RAF to find a cold welcome in a Britain which has turned its’ back on the black men and women who had fought alongside them in the war. He takes a job as a teacher, finding a class of unruly white working-class kids who test him to his limits; but whose lives are transformed under his guidance. Sidney Poitier starred in the 1967 big screen adaptation.
The Cormoran Strike Mysteries: Based on Robert Galbraith’s (aka JK Rowling’s) best-selling novels The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. The contemporary series will focus on war veteran turned private detective, Strike as he investigates shocking crimes together with his female assistant Robin. Rowling caused a stir when it was revealed in 2013 that she was the author of the books under the pseudonym — the books then shot to the top of the best-seller lists. Casual Vacancy producers, Brontë Film and Television, are making The Cormoran Strike Mysteries with Rowling exec producing.
BBC One also said it will be the UK broadcast partner for the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida from May 8-12.