One of Britain’s longest-running primetime soaps has set its high-end spinoff with a cast that features actors from Lost, Orphan Black and Game Of Thrones and is directed by Borgen’s Jesper Nielsen. Redwater will air on BBC One next year as a six-part series that sees popular EastEnders characters Kat and Alfie Moon lead the crossover.
EastEnders, which began airing in 1985 and is consistently among the most-watched programs in Britain, has experience with specials and stunts, but Redwater is the first major network drama to emanate from the show. Such is the popularity of the flagship soap that the BBC has reported previously that engineers at the National Grid brace themselves for power surges each time an episode ends and nearly 2M electric tea kettles are switched on across the nation.
The ensemble set for Redwater includes Fionnula Flanagan (Lost, The Others), Maria Doyle Kennedy (Orphan Black, Dexter), Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones, The Fall), Angeline Ball (Shameless) Peter Campion (Brooklyn) and Stanley Townsend (The Hollow Crown, The Tunnel).
They join Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie as the iconic Kat and Alfie Moon, who arrive in the titular tiny harbor village in search of Kat’s long-lost son. Her quest for the truth uncovers secrets that the people of Redwater would rather left buried at sea.
Wallace and Richie breathed fresh life and a lot of laughs into EastEnders in the early 2000s. Their turbulent relationship was a focal point until they departed in 2005. Both returned in 2010, leaving again in 2015.
Redwater, which has the possibility of being a returning series, is expected to mix the Moons’ knack for comedy and turmoil with dark drama amid a Pandora’s box of secrets and lies within the village. Think a lighter Broadchurch. Helmer Nielsen says, “It has echoes of a Shakespearean drama, told in a rich cinematic style, loaded with humor and suspense.”
The series will be written by EastEnders’ alumni including Life on Mars creator Matthew Graham, along with Julie Dixon, Lauren Klee and Matthew Barry.
Shooting starts this week in Ireland. BBC Grafton House Productions is producing in association with Element Pictures (The Lobster).