Peacock Boards BBC YA Drama ‘Noughts + Crosses’

BBC/ITV Studios

Noughts + Crosses, the BBC adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s bestselling YA series, is coming to the U.S. after Peacock boarded the drama.

The streamer will air the six-part series as a Peacock Original from September 4.

Originally commissioned by the British public broadcaster in 2016, the drama launched in the UK in March.

From Victoria producer Mammoth Screen, When They See Us producer Participant and Jay Z’s Roc Nation, the series follows two young people: Sephy, played by newcomer Masali Baduza, and Callum, played by Peaky Blinders’ Jack Rowan, who are divided by their colour but united by love.

Sephy is a ‘Cross’, a member of the black ruling class and daughter of a prominent politician. Callum is a ‘Nought’, a white member of the underclass. The two have been friends since early childhood but their relationship grows ever more complicated as they come of age. It’s the story of two families separated by power and prejudice but forever entwined by fate.

Paterson Joseph (Timeless) plays Sephy’s father, the Home Secretary Kamal Hadley, Bonnie Mbuli (Invictus) plays her mother Jasmine and her sister Minerva is played by Kike Brimah (Love Type D). Helen Baxendale (Cold Feet) and Ian Hart (The Last Kingdom) play Callum’s parents Meggie and Ryan and Josh Dylan (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) plays his older brother Jude. Shaun Dingwall (Goodbye Christopher Robin) plays Liberation Militia leader Dorn. The cast also features Jonathan Ajayi and Rakie Ayola (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). Rapper Stormzy plays a new character, newspaper editor Kolawale.

It was written by Lydia Adetunji, Nathaniel Price and Rachel De-Lahay and directed by Daredevil’s Julian Holmes and newcomer Koby Adom. Shameless’ Johann Knobel produces and it is exec produced by Preethi Mavahalli, Kibwe Tavares, Patrick Reardon, Jeff Skoll, Miura Kite, Damien Timmer and Ben Irving. It is distributed internationally by ITV Studios.

“Essentially it’s a Romeo and Juliet story,” Mavahalli told Deadline last year. “Sephy is a princess who lives in her palace and is very privileged, while Callum is the son of maid that works in the house and they have a shared history. They knew each other as kids and then as they grow older they followed very different paths. Now that they are much older they realize they have a love for each other and this love develops but they face a number of obstacles on the way as the world and society stand against them being together.”

Rowan told Deadline that the character was the most “complex” he’d ever seen. “It was clear from day dot, from an acting point of view, it was something that would push me and I could be very proud of because I had to hit extreme emotional beats. The character, who is oppressed but is a happy person, he doesn’t have any hate in his heart, and grows after getting so many pushes and pokes and trials and tribulations that his story just goes up and down. I immediately I wanted this,” he said.

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