The BBC has commissioned a six-part drama about the UK’s ska and two-tone music scene, which hails from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight.
Two Tone (working title) will tell the story of an extended family and four young people who are drawn into the world of ska and two tone music, which grew from the grass roots of the English cities Coventry and Birmingham in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The music united black, white and Asian youths during a tough period for race relations in the UK.
The series also marks the beginning of a new deal between Knight and Banijay-UK backed Kudos, which gives the Deadwater Fell indie a first look at all of his future UK-based projects. The agreement also includes a commitment to grow the local workforce in Birmingham, using Knight’s Digbeth Loc Studios as a base.
Deadline first revealed Knight and Kudos (Grantchester, SAS Rogue Heroes) were working on Two-Tone in November 2020.
News of the series, which will air on BBC1 and the BBC iPlayer, comes in the same month Knight’s lauded gangster drama Peaky Blinders came to an end on the BBC.
Kudos and Knight’s Nebulastar are co-producing in association with the former’s northern subsidiary Kudos North, Matthew James Wilkinson’s Stigma Films (Choose Or Die) and Nick Angel, the former Island Records A&R director who was a co-founder of Colin Firth’s Random Films.
Shooting will begin Birmingham at Digbeth Loc later this year.
“This is a project that’s literally very close to home and I’m developing characters and themes that are set in the early 80s but hopefully are very contemporary. Of course, the soundtrack will be sensational,” said Knight, who is creator, writer and executive producer.
Kudos’ Karen Wilson, Martin Haines, Phil Temple and Laura Conway are exec producers, along with Wilkinson, Angel and the BBC’s Tommy Bulfin. Banijay Rights will handle international distribution.
Ben Irving, Acting Director of BBC Drama said: “Steven has taken his knowledge of this time and place and used it to weave a brilliantly original and characterful drama, set against the musical backdrop of ska and two tone. We are thrilled to be able to bring this unique piece to viewers on the BBC.”
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