The BBC has unveiled its latest drama slate at a virtual event on Tuesday, pulling the curtain back on new series from Rocks writer Theresa Ikoko, This Is England creator Shane Meadows, and the latest female-focused drama from Killing Eve producer Sid Gentle Films.
Ikoko, who was BAFTA-nominated for Rocks, will adapt Nikki May’s soon-to-be-published debut novel Wahala, which follows three thirty-something Anglo-Nigerian women whose friendship group is infiltrated by the beautiful, charismatic, and super-wealthy Isobel.
Set in London, Isobel’s arrival creates mounting tensions, unravels bonds, and exposes secrets with shocking and tragic consequences. Ikoko said the series is “Big Little Lies meets Girlfriends” and will be an “amazing celebration of Nigerian British culture.”
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Wahala is produced by Firebird Pictures, with founder Elizabeth Kilgarriff executive producing alongside the BBC’s Mona Qureshi. BBC Studios will distribute the series internationally.
The project was one of six series announced by BBC drama controller Piers Wenger, with others including a much-rumored drama from Meadows, which represents both his first series for the BBC and his debut period drama.
The Gallows Pole is adapted from the novel of the same name Benjamin Myers and fictionalizes the remarkable true 18th-century story of David Hartley and the Cragg Vale Coiners, a community of weavers who made fake gold coins to supplement their incomes.
Made by Normal People producer Element Pictures, writer Meadows said it was the story of “very naughty men and women who started clipping and counterfeiting coins out in the Moors, as a way to keep themselves and their community alive.” Wenger and Tom Lazenby are executive producers for the BBC.
Sid Gentle Films will make Cash Carraway (working title), a wild and punky tale of a single Mom being trapped below the poverty line and doing everything it takes to escape. BAFTA-winning This Country star Daisy May Cooper will headline the series, which is told with a dark lick of humor and an anarchic attitude.
It is inspired by Cash Carraway’s book Skint Estate. The writer said: “The show is about a brash yet intelligent working-class single mum who not only lives in extreme inner-city poverty but a state of ridicule and humiliation as she attempts to improve her life. She’s immoral and shocking and purposefully vile, and swaggerous and quite amazing really – but obviously I would say that as it’s inspired by my life.”
Cash Carraway is executive produced by Jo McClellan for the BBC; Sally Woodward Gentle and Lee Morris for Sid Gentle Films; and Carraway. Sid Gentle’s head of development, Henrietta Colvin, will serve as associate producer. BBC Studios will distribute.
Elsewhere, Mum and Him & Her writer Stefan Golaszewski is penning Marriage, a four-part series examining the fears, frustrations, and salvation of marriage and the comfort that can only be found in togetherness. It is executive produced by Tommy Bulfin for the BBC, Beth Willis and George Faber for The Forge, and Richard Laxton and Stefan Golaszewski for The Money Men.
Journalist Dolly Alderton has teamed with Working Title to adapt her memoir Everything I Know About Love, which provides an unflinching account of surviving your 20s. Described as Sex & The City for millennials, it centers on Maggie and Birdy, best friends since school who land in London to live it large, when the unexpected happens — Birdy gets a steady boyfriend.
“It’s a messy, boisterous, joyful, romantic comedy about two best female friends from childhood and what happens when they move into their first London house share and the first phase of adulthood,” Alderton said. Executive producers are McClellan for the BBC; Alderton; and Surian Fletcher-Jones, Tim Bevan, and Eric Fellner for Working Title Television.
Finally on the BBC slate is Champion, an original series from Candice Carty-Williams, the award-winning writer of Sunday Times bestseller Queenie. It is described as a love letter to Black British music, set in south London.
The show focuses on Bosco Champion, a UK rap sensation before he was jailed. His younger sister Vita has been his personal assistant, running around after him, getting him out of trouble, and hiding his misdemeanors. But when Vita’s own talent is discovered by Bosco’s rival, Belly, she steps out of her brother’s shadow to become a performer in her own right, setting the Champion siblings against one another in their quest to both reach the top spot in the charts, and to be the star of the family.
Champion is executive produced by McClellan for the BBC; Bryan Elsley, Dave Evans, and Danielle Scott-Haughton for Balloon Entertainment; Charlie Pattinson, Willow Grylls, and Imogen O’Sullivan for New Pictures; and Carty-Williams. The producer is Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor. Other writers include Isis Davis, Emma Dennis-Edwards, Ameir Brown, and Edem Wornoo.
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